Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results.

Ever wonder why some people’s faces are showing up in search results? How do they do that?

They do it by linking and then adding the Google Authorship markup to one of the links. This is called a “rich snippet.”

Google Authoriship Markup Screenshot

Stands out, doesn’t it? It’s more prominent and more credible. It’s all possible through the magic of Google authorship markup and the rel=author tag.

If the value of this isn’t obvious, consider this: according to one study on the impact of rich snippets on traffic, the number of clicks increased by 150% once the rich snippet was added. This is one of those opportunities to give yourself an almost unfair advantage in Google.

Google has some basic instructions for this, but they were not very helpful for me. So I did some research (AJ Kohn’s post was helpful). And I did some testing, and it’s working. Here’s how I did it:

Tip: Even if you’re not active in Google+, Google Authorship will still work, but you do have to setup your profile. At very least, take 15-minutes to go through the Google+ Jumpstart Guide.

Step One: Verify your email address on Google+

Step One Verify your email address on Google+

Google wants to know that your account is legit. Make sure you’re using a email address with the same domain as the domain of your blog.

According to Google, as long as you’re posting on that domain, and the posts have the same byline as the name on your G+ account, this is enough to make the connection. But don’t hold your breath…

Step Two: Link from your Google+ profile to your content

Step Two Link from your Google+ profile to your content

On the right side of the “About” page of your Google+ profile, there is a place to add “Contributor to” links. Link to your content from here.

  • If you have a bio page on your blog, link to this bio.
  • If you don’t have a bio page, link directly to the post itself.

Step Three: Link from your content to your Google+ profile

Step Three Link from your content to your Google+ profile

From the byline or author box at the bottom of your post, link to your Google+ profile, adding “rel=author” in the link.

  • If you have a bio page on your site, link to the bio with “rel=me” in the link.
  • If you don’t have a bio page on your site (or if you’re having trouble getting authorship to work), link directly to your Google+ profile with “rel=author” in the link. See the sample code below.

Tip: If you use WordPress, there are plugins, such as Author Box Reloaded, that will add the markup for you. They will also add your image and icons to all the social networks.

What about for guest blog posts?

When you guest blog, make sure that you give the host blog the proper HTML with a link to your Google+ and the rel=author in the link. If they don’t add the markup, you don’t get the rich snippet.

Then add a link to the guest blog post itself in your “Contributor to” links. Unfortunately, linking to the homepage of the host site probably won’t work. The bad news is that you may end up with a very long list of links as time goes on.

Troubleshooting

Not working? Try these steps.

  1. Check to make sure you’re verified. Put the link to the post into Google’s rich snippet testing tool and see how it should display in search engines.
  2. Make the connection more directly. If you were linking from your Google+ profile to a bio on your site, try linking to the specific posts instead. Forget rel=me and go with rel=author.
  3. Add more tags. Add ?rel=author to the end of the destination URL, like so: Find Andy on
  4. There you have it. Search meets social, coming soon to a keyword near you. Now go connect all the content you publish anywhere, and your smiling face will be there next to it when it ranks.

    About the Author: Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of a web design company in Chicago called Orbit Media Studios. Naturally this article is connected to Andy’s profile. It also links to Twitter but that has nothing to do with authorship.

  1. Thanks for sharing, Andy. I found your how-to instructions easier to follow than Google’s!

  2. Richard Linn @ProfitsGrowth Apr 17, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Andy – that’s a very interesting feature, and one that I did not understand very well. Now, after reading your post, I am ready to implement it. Marketing is so often about the little things that give one an edge and a boost to credibility. This will certainly help. Thanks again for your great work!

  3. Andrew McCauley Apr 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I see this works for individuals, but is it possible to get it to work for an organization? I’ve been trying to do that for my work with no luck

  4. Great Post, The rich snippet tool is great to test hReview microformat data. I am wondering how long until this get’s abused.

  5. How long does it take for google to start showing the pic? I followed your steps but no change, yet. Thanks!

    • Usually takes 5-7 days or so for the SERP’s to start recognizing the rich snippets. Be patient. It will happen.

      Did you happen to use the rich snippets testing tool to verify it was done correctly?

      • I have been trying since six months now. Mixed up the pages with the code. Some with rel=author, some with rel=me. Hoping something would work but still no luck. It shows perfectly in rich snippets tool but somehow I don’t know where it gets lost. Any help will seriously help.

  6. Great post! I can’t believe more people are not taking advantage of this. I got it done without actually using an email address from my domain, just my gmail address. Maybe I got lucky.
    @Charlie It took about two weeks for my picture to start showing up in the SERPS.

  7. This is probably one of the more simplistic posts regarding Google authorship markup. Great visuals and excellent explanation on how to do it. Nice work Andy!

  8. Thanks- it works in the testing tool, so I’ll just be patient. :-)

  9. Didn’t think to verify my email address… Hope it works now.

  10. Great information as always Andy! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thanks Andy, great post! I’m having trouble with this (although rich snippet tool said good) and thought it could be my profile image; it’s not a clear headshot but a meditating silhouette. Then after a month or so it started working but now after about a week stopped working again -.- According to your post, I verified my email address and changed re=me to rel=author and hope this helps. Does anyone have any idea why it could have stopped working?

  12. Its now really necessary to have it.. I just got my Google Authorship done today..

  13. Great post Andy… but what about business pages ?
    What you say is working as well ?

  14. Thanks. I have done that – all of it :-) I even got.

    And “Verified: Authorship markup is verified for this page” when testing it.

    But so far nothing in search :-(

  15. These instructions are excellent – BUT if you want to utilise a plugin take a look at the on we developed. It’s called AuthorSure (http://www.authorsure.com).. It gives more options than setting up the markup manually and makes it easy to set authorship up for both single and multi-author WordPress sites.

  16. this is super great. thanks for the tip and good explanation.

  17. And anything about the rel tags. Many tutorials spoke about using rel=”author” to the about page and then rel=”me” to the Google plus profile page.

    But the above tutorial didnt work as well. I still see nothing in the search results.

  18. How do I apply and where do I place my rel=author snippet for my web page.
    currently I have it between but it shows above my header on each page.
    I have searched for info on this but everything is geared towards blogs (wp).
    I do have a blog and that is set up ok.
    I used the snippet testing tool and it says it is ok,yet am unhappy at the placement of the snippet on the head of my page.
    Hope you can help
    Best wishes
    Peter

  19. Hello,
    I got my authorship verified a month ago, but still my photo appears only for my pages but none of them appears for my posts. Please help me. My site is TechBlazes .com

    • Never mind, I got my photo on all the posts after 3 months the authorship was approved. Anyways, thanks for the tutorial.

  20. Thanks was a great help! on a side note looks like if you add email address from domain, and domain is www with hard redirect will not work. I just deleted and added manually on plus page/contributors

  21. thanks for this! i’ll see how it goes in 5-7 days time.

  22. Thanks a lot, it worked for me, earlier it was not working as i did not verify my email. Thanks a lot

  23. Thanks Andy great easy to follow article. Very useful, unlike the Google instructions!

  24. wow! incredible post. I also make post on my blog, but don’t like this killer one. Keep up the good spirit and i salute you for your work!

  25. Thanks a lot !!! i’m sure it will increase my traffic ! xx

  26. Thank You! I just implemented the ?rel=author in my author box with the anchors around my name. Also, I verified the site email address with my profile. That should make it universal for the site right?

  27. this helpful but not working for me

    i want to add richsnppet for my all joomla article but i fail,please give step by step guide for all joomla user

  28. Thanks for you post. i have done this on my site. How long i need to wait for its activation please tell me. You can visit my site to check. whether it will work or not.

    Thank you

  29. Great article – thanks! Quick question, on my blog postcardmania dot com slash wordpress I dont normally have a bio for our CEO in each post. Is there a way to tag her as the author on these so that they show up with the photo in a google search without adding a bio to every single post? I don’t want to add the bio at the bottom because it will move my other calls to action down on the page. thanks!

  30. Thanks for this great article.

    however when I tried to put this code within an Author Box, It seems the fail.
    May I ask for your HTML codes for that Author Box?

    Best Regards

  31. very nice post .

  32. Sorry Andy the above link is pasted by mistake please check this one
    http://seo-sp.blogspot.com/2011/09/about-seo-expert.html

  33. Can this be for regular websites or is it just blogs? How can I get a pic for a product website?

  34. Thanks for the post. I just updated my Author Box and am in the process of verifying my account. Hopefully, my picture will be showing up soon. Thanks!

  35. Thanks for the info. I wanna ask, can we use our google plus page instead of profile?

  36. Thanks for the great post. I had already implemented the rel=author thing but I had completely overlooked rel=me
    Now regarding guest posts, I have linked back from my G+ profile to the homepage of the site and my picture does display in the Googles SRPs so frankly, I would not worry about linking to each individual guest blog pages.

  37. Thanks for this guide, I’m all signed up now

  38. Does Google+ allow logos as the picture?

  39. Worked like magic!

  40. Great Post – I have read elsewhere, which now I can’t find grrr!

    That when using the full Google+ link – see below
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/111679558114662395806?rel=author/

    you should leave out the : u/0 – like below
    https://plus.google.com/111679558114662395806?rel=author/

    Is this necessary? Can anyone shed any light on this? Is one more effective that the other?
    Thanks

  41. thanx….you really explained it in detail……and i have verified my google authorship after reading this post…thanx again

  42. Thanks Andy!

    I’ve read a lot of articles that tackle this one but they’re just too complicated. Your instructions are clear-cut and and easy-to-follow.

  43. Hello,

    I have a short question for you. I’ve already managed to make my picture appear in the search results but I was wondering, if I would add the picture of a car or any other picture than mine, will Google still continue displaying my pic?

    Does anyone know?

    Thanks!

  44. Hello,

    I have a short question for you. I’ve already managed to make my picture appear in the search results but I was wondering, if I would add the picture of a car or any other picture than mine, will Google still continue displaying my pic?

    Does anyone know?

  45. Sounds simple enough. Will give it a go and share my results. Thanks for the tip Andy!

  46. I will follow your instruction. But my blog has several writers who update and maintain the blog. This is the problem.

  47. Well, That’s what i was searching for.. Thanks Andy..

  48. Thanks for the tutorial. Alas! there is no change yet…

  49. Great and straight to the point tutorial on adding Google authorship … Thanks for the share !

  50. Thanks a lot for posting this. I’ve been searching online for a working method to get Google Authorship for my blog and luckily, found this page very soon

  51. thanks for this! with some tweaking, i finally got it to work. a few glitches, though. perhaps someone can help?

    will this work for my WP pages within my site as well, or just posts? i have added my bio box to those pages on my site that are not technically part of my blog, but have not seen the photo feature work yet. meh.

    secondly…any reason i might be seeing my pic only on the first instance in search results? wondering if this is a google simplification protocol, or a mistake on my end.

    thanks!

  52. Is Google still randomizing author display in SERP? We’ve implemented on our site for our authors. However, I don’t see the author displayed in SERP while others do. Any thoughts?

  53. How can I do it from Blogger ?

  54. Your step by step guide is really helpful for a noob like me! I just finished updating my Google+ to my site! Thank you Andy! ;)

  55. Hi Andy,

    This is a great post…My pic was showing up before and today I see it is not there. Had a very busy few months since Nov 2012 and so I haven’t posted any new blog posts. Could this be why it has been removed? Any other reasons?
    Would appreciate your feedback :)
    Thank you,

  56. i am done all the steps you mention in above but still my picture is not appear in Google search my blog is finemobiles.blogspot,com can you help me to find out the error

  57. I managed to get my google+ pic showing up next to my website in google search results only three weeks after I set it up. Things were going well, but a few days after I changed the look of my website’s footer, and in so doing moved the link to my google+ page into an html table for layout reasons, the picture no longer shows up next to my site in google search results. Has the moving of my google+ link in my footer harmed my authorship markup? Or do I have to wait a bit for Google to realise that I have not deleted the link but just moved it?

    • Link move doesn’t harm, it is due to the reason might you forgot author/publisher tag in link or mark link with no-follow attribute!

  58. Google’s New Social Networking Links Favor Publication Titans

    by Matthew Bamberg

    At a time when more freelancers are supplying the Internet with articles, blog posts, books and websites, Google has taken a major step in minimizing their clout, favoring the established writers of big corporate entities. Google’s grip on the Internet affects everyone, but no one more than the freelance writer or blogger.

    A major setback has been delivered to writers and authors who are not associated with any single corporate interest. The new program–Google Authorship–skews the Internet searches away from articles, columns, features and blog posts written by freelancers, to those from the staff writers of large corporations and publications.

    Google +, the relatively new social networking platform, is now looking to increase the visibility of established writers and authors by connecting their work through their social networking platform (Google +) to the Google search engine ranking results. The connection is sure to increase the profile authors and writers, and, as a result, one would speculate, also the pay that they receive for the number of visitors they get when someone access the webpage they have written. But hold on a minute.

    The only winners in this seemingly writer-friendly set-up are the big corporate media networks who hire writers as part of their staff, a shrinking number, indeed, in a tight economy where obtaining (or wanting) a job as a staff writer at a big corporation is not much more likely than getting a job as a typesetter in a graphic arts department.

    Why aren’t the freelance writers and authors included so that their writings, too, are upped in Google rankings? One simple Google + option tells the story: Check that you have a email address (for example, levy@wired.com) on the same domain as your content (wired.com). Freelance writers and bloggers don’t have domains like wired, esquire, cnet, macworld and so on, not because they don’t want them, but because they are the trademarks of the titans of the publishing world. Big name domains get top results in Google for many keywords, not to mention listings in Google News.

    In order for any other writers/authors to be linked to Google +, they must obtain a Google + HTML snippet to include in the source code of the website in which their articles appear. The problem: freelance writers are paid to write on corporate websites, their most viewed works, but have no corporate email domain like the staff writers do. What that means is freelancers have to contact the corporation to give them the code so it can be inserted into the article source, which is on the corporation’s website.

    Fat chance of them doing that. Why should they? If they do the freelancer’s other self-published works (like blog posts) are also upped in the search engine results, thus competing with the big corporate website’s viewership (and ad revenue).

    The result of the new Google + new author-visibility policy favors corporations with Google’s assistance. Go figure.

  59. Thanks Andy for your instructions, i will try it for real author…

  60. Thanks Andy. Very helpful.

  61. A lot of people struggle with this topic of Google authorship. Although this isn’t difficult as long as you know what to do (thanks to this article) It seems like there could have been an easier way for Google to handle this.

    Thanks for sharing this article, it helped me a lot and I will be referring back to it often.

  62. I tried almost everything but it is not coming up. Will give a try to these methods and I am sure one of them will work for sure. It also takes too much of time to show images in search and once it is there it also shows only with few articles. I am gonna try this and will post my comment again.

  63. how many days require to approve image on search result ?

  64. It was a wonderful post Mr Andy I personally liked the plugin for author info you mentioned here can you please give some idea about how to improve your author rank .

    And how does it improves SEO.

    I have a post on this at my company blog here http://kgnsoftech.com/blog

  65. how can i verify my email id on google+ ?????

  66. I recently implemented this (two days ago, and the image was there today) and it’s showing up with some of my articles but not all of them. Do you know if they don’t show the image on all of your content, or does it just take a few days for it to show up on every article you have?

  67. I knew it but ?rel=author concept was unknown for me, but now I was cleared.
    thanks friend

  68. That’s great solution to display profile picture on google search result. Actually it is simple but the result is great. People fill attract to click the link if there have prifile picture.

  69. Thank you! I was finally able to get the Authorship to work for me after reading this.

  70. Can you do this without using Google Plus? I know of rich snippets and you can specify an author name and image that way in html. Will Google put it up in search result if you do that?

    I ask since I don’t want to have my real name showing up in results and Google Plus requires it.

  71. thank you so much! I literally spent HOURS on this a couple months back, trying every possible method I could find and following every tutorial that was slightly different from the others, to no avail. Five minutes after reading your post, I had it working.

  72. Hey Andy! thanks for informative share! However, I think we can get the result by using Google snippet review. that’s true?

  73. Great how to. A must for any author with a website and a great way to stand out. Of course as this becomes more and more standard practice, we’ll need better and better ways to stand out, but for now, having your avatar display in the search results is a no-brainer.

  74. I found it a bit difficult to understand all the technical side of things. I have done the steps to create authorship and hope that Google will pic up my photo.

  75. OMG! Thanks so much for the info. Google’s instructions weren’t helpful to me either and this is such a simple task!

  76. I’m against the idea of adding tags to my code for pleasing Google, I always go with email or separate HTML files for verification.

  77. Nice, simple and to the point just the way I like it.! Consider the article tweeted and forwarded to some clients that just do not understand how these things work!

  78. Very nicely explained.
    You can implement this very quickly on Joomla with the following extension: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/news-display/content-infos/authors/22538

  79. Hi,
    Thanx for sharing, nice info i think..
    but i have a question, how long my picture show in google?
    because i am already do this to my website (www.sepatusportnike.com) 2 tweeks ago but until know my picture never show.. can you help me
    Thanx a lot…

  80. I’ve just created my own niche and I’m working on this authorship thing. I found this article really an easy tutorial to follow!

    Thank you so much!

  81. I thought I’d set this up, but when I google my websites name, it doesn’t show up. However, when I google a particular subject of a post and that post comes up, it shows my pic. Why is that?

  82. How can I stop my face from appearing in google search results? I undid all the steps that I took to make it appear in search results but it is still showing.

  83. Also check that your image is actually a portrait of a human being – otherwise google won’t show the image – I’ve had it happen!

  84. Just worked like a wonder.Thanks mate.

  85. Well explained thanks. Been having problems with this author stuff but seems to be working now.

  86. Nice article. I too have posted my own article on this topic.

  87. Thanks for this post! Very helpful!

  88. after my blog is down several days (because of migration to another server), right now I can’t see my picture on google search. What will I do? Just waiting or…

  89. Actually no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to other people that they will help, so here it happens.

  90. Thanks for the heads up on the contributor list section of G+, missed that part.

  91. Is it possible to connect company Google+ account with content from company website? I would love to put logo near google results- rather than image with my face.

  92. Hi nice share thanks Andy
    my photo is seen in Rich snippets but not in Google result, why? :(
    please help
    thank you
    Eutectics.blogspot.in

    • I have the same problem with my website. The image used to disappear for a few days in the google search results, but it always returned. Now the image has been gone for about 2 weeks now. I used to the test to verify that the image appears – it still tests okay. But it doesn’t appear in the actual google search results. Suggestions on what to check would be appreciated!

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