Have you ever done a search and noticed that some results have a nice little headshot next to them?
That sweet little picture that draws your eye in and makes you want to read more is Google+ Authorship. If you run a blog or site, you probably want to have that neat feature for your search results too.
Here’s our handy-dandy guide to adding Google+ Authorship to your site, complete with pictures, in two simple steps.
First Off: What is Google+ Authorship?
Google+ Authorship is a tool that allows you to link your content to your Google+ profile. This beautiful tool tells Google who the real author of a piece of content is and gives searchers a neat visual to draw their eye to.
Along with the headshot, Authorship also connects people to your profile, gives them information about the Google+ circles you’re in, and links to other content you’ve written.
Why would you want to use Google Authorship
Because who doesn’t want their content to get as much exposure as possible?
If you write for the web, even just a little, you want credit for the content you create. The Authorship markup is intended to help with that. Along with exposure, many of us in the SEO field (present company included) feel that having Authorship enabled gives your content an ever-so-slight boost in rankings.
The benefits of Authorship aren’t only available for traditional Google search results – Authorship markup also can appear in Google News, giving you further authority. And although the SEO community is split on how Authorship affects conversions, it appears there is a general positive affect on clickthrough rate for results with author markup. Google authored a paper in 2013 detailing some of their findings on social signals and annotations in search results. It’s a highly technical paper, good for those insomnia filled nights, but the takeaway is this: users tend to fixate on the social annotation in search results (i.e., the Authorship markup/Author photo).
How do you add and use Google+ Authorship
Now, we’ve told you the “Whys” of Google+ Authorship, the next logical step is the “Hows.”
The first thing you need is a Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account, go here to set up a GMail account, include a nice, high quality picture of yourself for the account, then create your Google+ profile (by clicking the + in the upper right hand corner of your account).
First Step: Sign Up for Authorship – Two Ways
Sign up with an email you have set up on the domain you are writing for.
The easiest, most straightforward way to sign up for Google+ Authorship is to fill out a form with an email address you own on the domain on which your content will appear. Make sure you have a recognizable headshot on your profile and include a byline (such as “By Brian Valentin”). After you submit the form, your info will be added to the work section and contributor section of your profile.
Using Authorship if you have a generic email account and code that Google provides.
If you have a generic email not affiliated with a website you write for or you do guest blogging then you will need to use some HTML coding.
If you want to add a badge or Google+ icon to your site, that can be found here. Place the code provided into your website wherever you want it to appear (it will create a badge, and most users like the badge to appear in the sidebars).
Alternatively, you can add a hyperlink from the page or blog post to your Google+ profile by placing the following code on your page:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/[yourprofileID]?rel=author”>Byline Here</a>
This is the common method for quickly adding your Authorship information on sites you don’t own but you write for, or when you cannot verify Authorship through a domain specific email.
Make sure you have a link to the website in your “contributor to” section of your Google+ profile. This tells Google that the profile and website are interconnected.
Second Step: Verifying Authorship
Now that you’ve gone through the steps to setup Authorship, you will need to verify everything. To do this you can visit Google’s markup verification tool and insert the domain you want to test.
If everything is set up correctly you will see a sample preview of what an Authorship listing will look like in the search results and a notice that “Authorship is working for this webpage.”
Those are the basic steps to setting up Google+ Authorship on any site you own or write for. It probably won’t change immediately or even overnight. Often, changes you make in a Google product take a few days to begin showing up in search results. Be Patient and Author On!