The Ultimate Google Authorship Guide
When you perform a Google search and someone’s author link and avatar show up beside the results, are you more likely to click those links? Since Google enacted its authorship function, searchers do find results from webmasters and content creators who take advantage of this to be more trustworthy. If you’re not taking advantage of this feature, then you’re missing out on exposure to your own website and Google+ profiles.
What Google Authorship Does
Google’s Authorship function is beneficial to you because your icon appears next to content that you’ve published online. Your name acts as anchor text to your own Google+ page, which means that folks can add you to their circles if they like what they’re reading. Your Google+ profile might contain links to your other social presence or websites, but you won’t get exposure if you don’t completely fill out your Google+ profile information.
Google also benefits from this as the company is getting more clicks to a service that it owns. Of course, Google wants to promote its own social network. Everyone benefits from the added visibility that author links and pictures provide, but authorship continues to work for you after that. Not only do searchers see a real person behind content, which adds trust, but the SERPs let people know how many circles you’re in. If you’re popular on Google+ and dozens of people have sought fit to add you to their circles, your search result just might get the extra clicks. For this reason, it’s important that you network on Google+ in addition to relying on authorship to bring in hits.
Establishing Authorship on Google
You can use several methods to provide proof of authorship so that your link and picture show up under articles that you’ve written. If your website has an “About Me” or biography page, you can use the following steps:
Add a link to your author/bio page from your Google+ profile in the “Contributor” section
Add a link to your Google+ profile from your bio page with the attribute rel=”me”
Link to your bio page from other pages on your site with the rel=”author” attribute in the anchor
Perhaps your website doesn’t include a dedicate biography or you’re contributing to a blog with multiple authors. Use this two-step method, instead:
Add your blog or site to the Contributors list on your Google+ profile
Add a link to your Google+ profile with attribute rel=”author” from the page where you content appears
Finally, you can prove authorship by adding your email address to your Google+ profile and linking to your profile. Use your name as it appears on Google+ as the anchor text. The result will be “By John Doe.” The text typically appears at the begriming or end of the content.
This method works best if you have no control over the website where your content appears. Furthermore, you might consider email verification of authorship if you don’t want to list a website as one where you contribute. If you’re got a single article as a guest post, for example, email verification is the best option.
A WordPress Warning
WordPress is a powerful CMS that may power your website or blog, but you’ll need to go the extra mile to claim authorship if you use this CMS. This is because WordPress strips out the “rel” attribute from links. However, not all is lost. This might not be problematic if your website has only a single author.
Add the following tag before the closing :” in your theme’s file:
For example, Matt Cutts, who heads up Google’s search anti-spam department, would use the following code:
However, this solution doesn’t work as well if you have a multi-author site powered by WordPress. Instead, Google recommends the plugin Allow REL= and HTML in Author Bios. After installing this plugin, contributors to their site can include a line in their author profiles that includes the rel=”author” attribute in links to their Google+ pages. WordPress will still strip the attribute from the link in other locations on your website.
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool is the easiest way for you to check whether authorship verification is successful. Simply enter the URL to your domain if you’re the only contributor to see whether authorship works. You’ll see a preview that should include your profile picture and link.
Enter the URL to an author’s bio or a specific page of content to check for authorship if yours is a multi-author site or community. Google will produce results for the various methods of verification: email, rel=”author” and publisher verification. Thus, some methods of authorship verification made show up green for specific pages while others don’t. Generally, you only need to verify using a single method for authorship to work correctly.
Once you get authorship set up, head back to Google+ to build your network and encourage your associates to do the same, so that they can get the benefits.