Are you confused on the implementation and usage of Google Authorship on your content? This Ultimate Guide to Google Authorship should help you get on your way so that all of your content shows your face and attributes you as an author. This guide will be continually updated as new features and options come available from Google.
This guide will explain the various forms of Google Authorship from your own website content to other forms of content that you write on websites that you do not own. If it is your content, there is likely a way to claim it, and I’ll show you how.
I created this guide because many of the Google Authorship guides and tip sites from 2011-2012 are showing you deprecated code and aren’t showing you Google’s latest methods and guidelines. With that said, let’s get started!
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship is a powerful way to link your content to yourself as an author. Establishing authorship helps you to
- Improve click-through rates on your content.
- Establish credibility and legitimacy to your content and your name.
- Garner authorship recognition and exposure.
- Improved search engine result page rankings with Google Author Rank.
I love the concept of Google Author Rank. Establish yourself as a trusted author, gain notoriety based on your content, your content gets more links and people following you, and therefore, your content gains traction and is ranked higher in the Google search index. There’s also speculative research that suggests being an established author boosts your initial rankings before it even receives any attention at all. The idea being, Google may use data gathered via authorship to develop trust and authority scores that could affect your content’s search rankings.
The Ultimate Guide to Google Authorship Sections
When browsing this guide, you can click the below links to jump to the section you are interested in. I’ve done this for your convenience and for my ability to link directly to sections from within this guide to help others that have specific authorship sections that I’ve covered here.
- Establish Your Google Plus Profile
- Setup Google Authorship for Your Website
- Setup Google Authorship in WordPress.com Blogs
- Setup Google Authorship in Blogger / Blogspot Blogs
- Setup Google Authorship in Tumblr
- Verify Your Google Authorship is Working Properly
Establish Your Google Plus Profile
Before you can do anything with Google Authorship, you need to start your Google Plus profile. Once logged in to your Google Account, head over to http://plus.google.com/ and you should receive something similar to the above if you haven’t already established a profile. Once you’ve completed the information fields, click the blue “Upgrade” button and you’re account will be established.
The next step is to add a real and recognizable head shot of yourself to your Google profile. This image will be used to indicate authorship on your content like this:
The last step is to update the About section of your new Google Plus profile. Chances are, Google has already had you update your account about page during account setup, however, you can change what is shown here at any time. Click here to jump to your Google profile page. From there, update your information by using the various “Edit” links in any section. If you need a good working example of how to use this section and to get ideas flowing on what you should put there, check out my Scott Buehler Google Plus about page.
Now you are ready to establish authorship on all (or most) of your content. There’s much more to Google Plus than content authorship. Google Plus happens to be my favorite social network because it is fun, engaging, and once configured properly, an awesome content machine that delivers you relevant (to you) information. Learn more about using Google Plus with my awesome guide to Google Plus. By the way, “awesome” isn’t my description, it was the description given to the guide by hundreds of people in comments on the network. Learn it, use it, and love it. Google Plus is a very rewarding network.
Google Authorship for Your Website
There are several methods to link your content to your authorship profile on Google Plus. I’m going to show the ways you can do this from easiest, to most difficult. Every way is not available in every circumstance, so use the method that makes the most sense to you.
Option 1 – The Email Verification Method
By far, the easiest method if you have an email address on the same domain name that your content resides. In other words, you are a contributor or owner of xyzcompany.com and you have an email address (or can get an email address) that uses xyzcompany.com such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head over to Google’s Authorship page, type your email address in the field, and click “Signup for Authorship.” What this does:
- It sends an email to that email address for you to verify via a link in the email.
- It automatically adds a link to your “Contributor to” section for that domain’s website.
Once you’ve verified the email address, the authorship connection has been established!
All of your content on this site needs to have the byline “By Your Name” where “Your Name” matches your name exactly on your Google Plus profile.
ProTip: If you don’t want hundreds of email accounts to check every day on all of your/other domains, consider setting up an email forward. In most hosting control panels, you just need to go to the email section and create a forwarding address to forward all incoming email to your real email account. This is acceptable to Google because you are still receiving email on that domain and are able to verify.
Note: If you cannot get an email address on the domain that your content resides, this option will not work for you. Proceed on to other methods below.
Option 2 – Link Your Content to Your Google Plus Profile
In your article, you can establish a direct link to your authorship by linking to your Google Plus profile with the rel=”author” parameter. Confused? Let me walk you through it.
- In your content, add a byline that says By Your Name.
- Now create a text link for “Your Name” and link it to your Google Plus profile. Be sure to include rel=author in that link.
Your Google Link: https://plus.google.com/[youridhere]?rel=author
Example: By Scott Buehler
HTML: By <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914?rel=author”>Scott Buehler</a>
You do not have to add the link to your byline though, that is just my preference. As long as you link to your Google Plus profile and include ?rel=author, you can add the link to any text anywhere in the article. Some sites allow you to have a customizable “About Author” section below your article that accepts HTML. That would also be a great place to add a link that said something like “Circle Your Name on Google Plus.” Just do not forget the ?rel=author parameter.
Don’t Forget: Once you’ve done the above, you need to edit your Contributor To section. Just click that link and it will automatically pop up the edit page where you can add the website you are a contributor for.
Option 3 – The Content Management System Website
If you use a content management system such as WordPress and need to quickly establish authorship, one of the easiest ways for me is to use the <link> tag in your meta header of every page. For WordPress, you have a couple ways to do this:
- Install the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost de Valk. Once installed and activated (see my WordPress video that walks you through installing plugins on WordPress if needed), go to Users > Your Profile and under Google+ add your profile page URL.
- If you use the StudioPress Genesis framework (my favorite), it’s already built in! Just go to Users > Your Profile and the Google+ section is already there.
I love this method for WordPress because if you have a multiple-contributor site that allows many authors to write for you, each author can set their link for their Google Plus profile in WordPress and they will automatically be credited and linked to as author for their content. Again, all they need to do is log in to your WordPress installation under their specific username and go to Users > Your Profile and make add the Google Plus link.
If you use another CMS and you are the only author for your site, check for ways to add code to the heading section of your site and add:
<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/<youridhere>” />
Example, mine is: <link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914″ />
For multiple author sites that use a different content management system other than WordPress, a quick Google search like “Joomla Google Authorship” should turn up instructions and/or plugins to establish authorship for all writers.
Once this code is added to every page you simply need to go to your Google Plus profile and add a “Contributor to” link that points to the website. All authors of your website also need to update their “Contributor to” section as well if they want their face and name to appear under Google search results for their content on your website.
Option 4 – The Triangular Linking Approach
The only time I recommend this approach is when the three options above aren’t possible because this one is complicated. Some sites prevent you from adding any HTML to your content including the “About the Author” section below your content, thus preventing you from linking to your Google Plus profile. The only option the site provides is a customizable “About The Author” page within the site where you can freely link to Google Plus and your other networks.
If this is your situation, here is what happens in the triangular linking approach:
- Your Google Plus links to the site you have content on under “Contributor to.”
- Your content / articles link to an “About Me” page on the same website.
- Your “About Me” page links to your Google Plus profile.
In order for this to work you must do the following:
- Add the site you have content on to the Contributor to section of Google Plus.
- Your articles and content need to link to your biography “about me” page using rel=”author”.
- Your biography page must link to your Google Plus profile using rel=”me”.
Example HTML for rel=”author” for this Option 4 only:
<a href=”http://www.scottbuehler.com/about-scott” rel=”author”>Scott Buehler’s Biography</a>
The above HTML would be used to link to your “About The Author” biography page from within your article and content pages.
Your biography “About Me” page would need the following example HTML that points to your Google Plus page. Note, this example points to my Google Plus page, so be sure to change it.
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914″ rel=”me”>Circle Scott Buehler on Google Plus</a>
Once all of these steps are completed, you’ll likely have to wait a few days to a week for Google’s spiders to rescan and reindex the site’s content so that it can pick up the rel=”author” codes in the links that point to the biography. From that point, your authorship should be established and showing.
Establishing Google Authorship in WordPress.com Blogs
The quickest method I’ve found to add authorship in a WordPress.com blog, example my TygrScott WordPress.com Blog, is to add a text widget to your site. If you are unsure on how to add a text widget to your WordPress.com site, please refer to my How to Add Widgets to WordPress free training video (requires free registration).
If you’d rather not watch the video, go to the WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Widgets. Under the large amount of available widgets, find “Text” near the bottom and click and drag this widget to your Sidebar. This widget allows text, HTML, and because of that, you can add an authorship HTML link to your Google Plus profile.
Once your text widget is added to your WordPress.com installation, you’ll need to use option 2 of Google Authorship for Your Website and create a text link back to your Google Plus profile. Here’s what I chose to use on my site:
<a href=”http://xeeme.com/tygrscott”>Connect with Scott on Xeeme</a> (all Scott’s social media) and <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914?rel=author”>circle Scott Buehler on Google Plus</a>.
Remember to add the “Contributor To” link that points to your WordPress.com blog.
Establishing Google Authorship in Blogger Blogs
Since Blogger is a Google service, this is one of the easiest services to setup with authorship in Google.
Under your Blogger dashboard for any blog, you’ll see the above screen. Just click that Google+ link and then click “Get Started.”
From there, you’ll receive the above screen. Just put a checkmark in the blogs that you want to establish authorship with and click the orange “Add Blogs” button.
You’ve now established authorship. You don’t need to do anything else. Blogger has added the link automatically to establish authorship on your blogspot and in the Google Plus “Contributor To” section. I wish all sites could be this easy!
Establishing Google Authorship in Tumblr
Establishing Google Authorship in Tumblr is quite easy. You’ll need to use Option 2 from the Google Authorship for Your Website section to create a Google Plus link to your profile.
On your tumblr page, look for the link on the upper right of your screen. Click the “Customize” option and you’ll see the “Description” section I show to the left. Here you can add the HTML needed to link to you Google Plus page with rel=author in the link.
My code I used is:
Follow Scott Buehler on <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914?rel=author”>Google+</a>
Every theme is different and this description text may not appear on some themes. Choose a theme that works best to display your description so that you can establish authorship!
Verify Your Google Authorship is Working Properly
Google has taken the guesswork out of making sure your Google Authorship is working and setup properly. When this system was first launched, you had to wait a few days and continually recheck searches to make sure your authorship was established with a link to your Google Plus profile.
Now, you have access to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
I just used this awesome tool to verify my newly established Google Authorship on my TygrScott Tumblr blog. As you can see below, Google shows that “Authorship is working for this webpage” and shows you my website, my face icon, my name, and site description.
Interesting notes: Through the various research and verification in writing this guide, I actually discovered that my Tumblr-based TygrScott.com website didn’t have authorship setup properly. Mistakes I made was:
1) I didn’t link to my G+ profile with ?rel=author and instead used Follow Scott Buehler on <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914″ rel=”publisher”>Google+</a>. See the mistake? I used rel=publisher and I also used the old 2011-2012 method of linking.
The proper HTML is Follow Scott Buehler on <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107415989115407435914?rel=author”>Google+</a>.
2) I forgot to edit my “Contributor To” and add the link to TygrScott.com on my Google Plus about page. Oops! This goes to show, after everything is setup, try not to be nonchalant like me and use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool every. single. time. after you think you’ve done authorship correctly. Everyone makes mistakes, use the tool to verify you didn’t mess something up before patting yourself on the back and saying “job well done!”
Google Authorship Conclusion
Google Authorship is becoming more and more important into today’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Without your authorship established, you are placing your content at an immediate disadvantage which will likely place your content lower in search engine results. The reason we all have websites is to get traffic, gain authority in our niche, and convert that traffic in to money via your established monetization methods.
Obviously, this guide covers the more popular blogging services and social networking platforms that allow blogged content but cannot possibly cover them all. I am confident that after reading this guide, you’ll have ideas to establish Google Authorship on your favorite networks and/or services. Typically, you’ll use Option 2 from the Google Authorship for Your Website section for most websites unless the site you are using offers a free email service that uses their same domain. In these rare instances, the easier Option 1 should be used.
This guide was created by request from several members on Google Plus after they saw my Ultimate Guide to Google Plus. Without the overwhelming support from that guide, this site and this authorship guide wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks to everyone for their donations, referrals, articles about my site and guides, social media sharing, overwhelmingly positive comments, and overall support. I appreciate each and every one of you!