Google Authorship and Why You Need It

What is Google Authorship?

To quote Google:

You can link content that you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile.

How to set up Google AuthorshipSimply put, Google Authorship is a system whereby an author’s Google+ profile is linked to the content they create, whether for their own or other websites.  When the links are set up correctly, the authorship system makes it more likely that the author’s profile picture will show up next to their content on Google search result pages.   Links with images stand out on the page, and have been shown to result in a higher click-through rate (CTR).  In future, it’s thought that Google will introduce “Author Rank”, an algorithm based on relevance of articles and popularity of authors.  This will also boost search engine rankings for individual authors.

If you’re a coach, consultant, speaker, trainer or entrepreneur who writes regular blogs and articles, you need to learn how to set up Google Authorship!

How to set up Google Authorship

Your Google Plus Profile

Firstly, you’ll need to claim your Google+ account and create your profile.  Most people will already have access to Google+, as it’s linked to all Google products.  So if you use Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar etc.  you will probably have noticed the “+ You”  link at the left hand side of the top black toolbar when you are logged into your Google account.

how to set up google authorship

When you click this link you are prompted to set up your Google+ profile.  As with other social networks, make sure you fill in all the fields as fully as possible and include a good quality image of yourself.  Do NOT use a logo – the image is important as this is what will show up in search results against articles you’ve written.

I’m not going to go into the intricate details of Google+ setup here, as I’ve already written about this. There is one important point to note in connection with Authorship.  In your profile “About” section, you’ll notice there is a subsection entitled “Contributor To”. This is the place to add your website or blog link (URL). As well as your own site,  also add the URLs of any other sites you contribute to regularly.  This is one part of the 3-way linking involved in Authorship setup.

Method 1 – Use Your Email Address

If you have an email address on the same domain as your website or blog then you can use this method to set up Authorship. For example, my website is www.purrfectlysocial.co.uk and my email address is on the same domain –  info@purrfectlysocial.co.uk.   However I know many people still prefer to use yahoo, hotmail, or gmail addresses but don’t worry, there is another option (see below).

When you write an article, add a byline with your name in the same format as it appears on your Google+ profile, e.g. “Author:  Naomi Johnson”.   Visit the Authorship Page and submit your email address to Google.  This inserts your email address into the “Contributor To” section of your Google+ profile, but you can alter your settings to keep your address private if you so wish.

Method 2 – Edit your Website to include a link to your Google+ Profile

This is the method I’ve used,  simply because I wasn’t aware of the email method when I originally investigated how to set up Google Authorship (in fact I’m not sure that the email method was available at that time).    It does require a bit of knowledge of HTML code but if you have a WordPress site,  there are plugins that take care of it for you (more on that later).

What you need to do is:

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  • Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this: [highlight]<a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>[/highlight]
  • Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this: [highlight]<a href=”https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202? rel=author”>Google</a>[/highlight]
  • Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.
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How to find your Google+ Profile URL:

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    • Go to your Google+ account and click on Profile.  Your profile URL will look something like this:       https://plus.google.com/u/0/117516848743248928217/about
    • Instead of “about” you may notice “posts” as the last segment of the URL. Whichever it is, delete this last segment and the trailing slash; also delete the u/0/ in the middle,  so you end up with something like this:     https://plus.google.com/117516848743248928217
    • Copy this into the link as per the example above.   It is the “rel=author” parameter that acts as the link between your profile and the articles you’ve authored.  The completed link needs to go into the <head> section of your website HTML.
    • Secondly, make sure that you’ve added all websites that you contribute to into the “Contributor To” section of your Google+ profile.
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WordPress Plugin for Google Authorship

Many bloggers and indeed website owners in general are using WordPress these days, so as a footnote I’d like to mention a plugin that will take care of your Google Authorship links for you.  It also happens to be an excellent plugin for SEO (search engine optimisation) and has been recommended by scores of leading bloggers.  The plugin is called Yoast WordPress SEO and it can be found via the WordPress plugin directory, or via this link.  Incidentally “Yoast” is the English pronunciation of the plugin developer’s name (Joost de Valk)!

Testing your Authorship Setup

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve set things up correctly, and fortunately Google supplies a simple tool enabling you to do just that.  It is called the Structured Data Testing Tool, and all you have to do is insert your site URL and click “Preview”.  If you’ve set up Google Authorship successfully,  you will see an example of what a search result would look like with one of your articles, and other notifications saying that authorship is working for your page.  See below for my own result from using this tool.

google structured data testing tool

google structured data testing tool

I hope this article will help you to understand why Google Authorship is important – if you have any difficulties I’ll be happy to help.

[hr] What do you think? Have you set up Google Authorship already, or would you like to start using it? If you use it already, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you. Please let me know in the comments below!
[hr] Need help setting up or managing Google+ for your business? I enjoy working with businesses to achieve more from social media and I’d love to hear from you – get in touch now on 01777 249075 or email me info@purrfectlysocial.co.uk
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Comments

  1. Very detailed and helpful post on a very important topic. I hope I have done it right, it seems that my posts have my pic on them on Google search so I think so. It was ages ago that I did it. I will give you post a RT for good measure so others can learn!
    Ashley / Madlemmings recently posted…Get Twitter Followers – Like a RockstarMy Profile

  2. Does someone have experiences how this could work with brands blogs (so no real person is blogging) and their G+ profiles?

  3. Glad you found it useful 🙂
    Naomi Jane Johnson recently posted…Google Plus – A Beginner’s GuideMy Profile

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