Should you use rel=author (Google Authorship) or rel=publisher (Publisher) on your website?
If you are a bit confused about whether it is appropriate to use Authorship or Publisher mark-up on your website then read on for an explanation of the differences.
This is a way for you to stamp your personal identity to a piece of work you produce online. If you write content and want to be associated with it in a clear and obvious way then you should use rel=author (Authorship). In the past it was a little convoluted to setup but is now extremely easy. You are essentially linking your ‘Google profile’ to a ‘piece of work’. Note that you are not necessarily linking your Google profile to just your ‘website’ (although you can just do that). The point of Authorship is that you can link yourself (your Google Profile) to all the content you produce, no matter what website it resides on. One of the benefits of doing this is that Google may show your Google profile mugshot and details in the SERPs (search results) which makes your search listing more eye catching and can directly increase click through rate (ctr).
More information here: https://plus.google.com/authorship. This is in contrast to using rel=publisher, read on.
Google Publisher (rel=publisher) provides a way to link a brand or company website to a Google + Business page, that’s it.. in a nutshell. It is achieved by simply linking from your website to your Google + page using this code format:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]” rel=”publisher”>Find us on Google+</a>
You then complete the loop by going to your Google + page and editing your profile to include your website URL. More details can be found here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1708844
Google authorship can link an individuals copy to that persons Google profile (no matter where the content resides, whether it be on your own website or another website or blog where you have been published).
Google publisher can link your brand / company website to your Google + business page, which can then result in google searches for your company name showing a Google + page for your business to the right of the organic search results.
The two are not mutually exclusive and can be used on the same website. Good luck and have fun!