I have a photo website. 15% of the photos belong to approved registered users. They agree my terms about uploading their images in my web pages. I include a photographer credit on right bottom corner.

About identifying the site with google, every page contains a google+ button to MY google+ page it also contains

<link href="https://plus.google.com/nnnnnnnnnn/" rel="publisher" />

I need some advice in order to respect google rules about my pages containing other photographers images not to be penalized because of possible duplicated or interpreted as stolen content. My concern is also about adding G+ links (to MY photo page) and Google publisher id would harm my site rank because of pages containing third-party photos.

3 Answers 3


publisher is not the same as author.

You are the publisher of the web pages, so it’s fine to link to the website’s Google+ page with the publisher link type, even on pages containing content from other users.

The author link type

[…] indicates that the referenced document provides further information about the author of the nearest article element ancestor of the element defining the hyperlink, if there is one, or of the page as a whole, otherwise.

So every image should be enclosed in an article element, and inside of that article you should have a link with the author link type, linking to a page about that image’s author (which could be a Google+ profile).

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <!-- … -->
  <link rel="publisher" href="" /> <!-- link to your Google+ page -->

  <!-- … -->

    <!-- … -->
    <div>by <a rel="author" href="">John Doe</a></div> <!-- link to a page about John Doe -->
    <!-- … -->

  <!-- … -->


If you wouldn’t use article, the author link type would convey that the linked person is the author of the whole page, which is probably not the case.


You could put user photos inside/under a special path and disallow it from robots.txt. Example

 User-agent: *
 Disallow: /img/users/
  • This would be a problem, the images wouldn't be indexed. I don't want this. I know that images duplicated in other sites may reduce their ranking, but at least this is better than remove them from index.
    – dstonek
    Jul 28, 2012 at 22:09
  • 2
    Then do not <link href="https://plus.google.com/nnnnnnnnnn/" rel="publisher" /> on the pages containing photos authored by other people. Only use it on content you write or create. Jul 28, 2012 at 22:19
  • 1
    Also I think publisher is very different then the author indicator, support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… like <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a> or <a href="https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202? rel=author">Google</a> Jul 28, 2012 at 22:25
  • These are John Mueller's (from Google) words: "...it's fine to have both a link rel=publisher and author-markup on the same page. The rel=publisher confirms that your website is the publisher of that Google+ Page; the authorship markup confirms that you (your personal profile) is the author of the content on that page. This markup can be used independently, since the meanings are slightly different. " So I don't need to remove publisher id. I guess handling vcards for each photographer and a link to a page containing his images would be enough. I'll post this 'solution'
    – dstonek
    Jul 30, 2012 at 16:33

There are many search results which include authorship to articles that have others photos within the article, blog post or web page. As long as you're crediting the photographer I think it's ok.

Since you can verify your entire domain from within your header to your Google Plus account it must be assumed that some sites will have 3rd party content. Just give credit to the authors when possible of the content and images.

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