Google Authorship – Improve Clicks with Rich Snippets
Posted: February 7, 2013 by Alex Chan
If you're a regular Googler, you may have noticed the little writer bio pictures beside some of the posts in the results. This is a new feature Google offered webmasters to enhance their results and it's been growing in popularity. It's called Google Authorship.
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship was just another addition to the collection of Googles Rich Snippets. Many SEO consultants are against it, but like all things SEO, all we can do is work with what we're given.
There are a few perks to having your Google Authorship verified. For one, the credit of the article is given directly to you. Your photo, name, and contact info (through Google+) is available for your viewers to ask questions or contact you. The right delivery can help improve your social media presence.
Every once in a while we touch on the subject of content marketing. Guest blogging for websites that support Google Authorship can be a great way to improve your portfolio as well as grow your network. Did we mention that authorship also gives you an SEO boost?
How to setup Google Authorship
There are 2 main ways to setup Google Authorship.
- Option 1: Link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email address
- Option 2: Set up authorship by linking your content to your Google+ profile
The method we use on this blog is the one from option 2 of the "Author Information in search results" guide provided by Google. Option 2 allows us to connect the author and page directly to our Google+ profile. While many of us don't really use Google+, it does offer a central place for us to handle our webmaster tools. Personally, I only use Google+ when I want to work… wonder what's happening outside right now.
Step 1: Create a Google+ Page and set the profile photo
If you already have a Google+ page, all you need to do is make sure your photo meets the Google requirements for Authorship. Your profile photo needs to be a head shot with nothing covering your face. Make sure the photo is a clear picture of you. Google has not proven to be fairly picky about the photos up to this point, but that may change and you may find your authorship disabled if they decide to monitor it more closely.
Step 2: Add the website to the "Contributor To" section of your Google+
Follow this link and add the website you're adding Authorship to by using the "Add custom link" option:
Press save when you're ready.
Step 3: Create a link to your Google+ profile from the article
Add the Google+ author link to the page where your article is posted.
Replace the [profile_url] with your Google+ link. Make sure to include the "?rel=author" portion of the link. That lets Google know the link is part of the authorship program.
Step 4: Test Google Authorship on your website
Using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool, plug in the page where you setup Google Authorship and you'll be given an example of how it looks.
Generally it takes a few days for Google to start showing the new Authorship features. You may even get a confirmation letter in the mail.