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.”
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.
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+
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
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
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.
Not working? Try these steps.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add more tags. Add ?rel=author to the end of the destination URL, like so: Find Andy on Google+
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 Google+ profile. It also links to Twitter but that has nothing to do with authorship.