Recently, I published a guest post “What Google Authorship Means for SEO” that generated a lot of discussion. Many readers asked how to set up Google Authorship on their own WordPress blog. Some readers weren’t sure if there were benefits to it. Others questioned how to add the rel=author tag to their content. There was a healthy conversation in the comment section and I promised to write a follow-up post to help answer some of the questions.
What is Google Authorship?
There is a lot of confusion surrounding this topic but it’s really more straightforward than some people think. Once you set up Google Authorship and you configure it into your WordPress blog, it’s done and you don’t have to worry about it again. The rel=author tag will automatically be assigned to the articles on that blog. If you were to start writing for another blog, you would just add that blog to your Google+ profile. As for the relationship of Google+ in all this, it’s simply a matter of setting up your profile. You don’t have to be active on Google+ for this to work. (Please keep in mind that having this set up correctly does not guarantee that your profile picture will show up every time your content is displayed in the search results for Google.)
Why Set Up Google Authorship?
- Your profile picture will (usually) display in the search results.
- Establishing yourself as an author (of articles related to specific topics) helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- Having your name and profile picture appear in the search results helps to build top-of-mind awareness and establish an appearance of authority.
How Do You Get Started Setting Up Authorship?
- Create a Google+ profile.
- Link your Google+ profile to your content on your domain by verifying your email address at plus.google.com/authorship. (Google doesn’t require that your email address be from your domain but that appears to be the easiest solution and I can’t think of one reason to not use an email account that’s branded with your domain.)
- On the “About” page of your Google+ profile, under “Other profiles” connect your social media accounts.
- On the “About” page of Google+ profile, under “Contributor to” add links to sites that you contribute content to (including your blogs).
- On the “Photos” tab, upload your profile picture. (I use the same picture that I’ve associated with my Gravatar.)
How Do You Add the Rel=Author Tag to Your Content?
The easiest way to add the rel=author tag to your content is by installing a WordPress plugin. There are several plugins available. The solution that worked for me is the Rel=”Author” Plugin For WordPress by Robert Dempsey from Dempsey Marketing. It’s free and his instructions walk you through it step-by-step. Hopefully, it will work for you. (If anyone has successfully used another plugin and would like to recommend it, feel free to mention it in the comment section.)
How Do You Test to see if You Set Authorship up Correctly?
You can test to see if you’ve set up your authorship correctly by going to the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Paste in the URL of an article that you’ve authored and click on “preview”. If you’ve set it up correctly, you will see an example of how your post would appear in the search results.
If anyone needs further proof that there are benefits to establishing authorship, check out the article “Google Confirms Hidden Benefit Of Authorship: Bonus Links After A Back-Button Click” by Matt McGee. Another article that I recommend is “The Ultimate list of Google Authorship resources”. How about you? Have you set up your authorship? Have you noticed an increase in traffic from organic searches from Google?