Google Authorship and SEO

by Kevin Rowe

You may have seen the ever-growing number of photos showing up in Google search results. Google is allowing you to claim ownership of a website, blog or guest blog post and they will display your Google+ profile photo within your link. (click graphics to enlarge)

author-results-google

But there is more to it than just a face on Google. This is what Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google has to say about authorship:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification… the true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance”

That’s a powerful statement. Since Google owns about 65% of all web searches, it might motivate you to setup Google Authorship for your own website, blog or guest blog posts.

Google+ Profile
First you’ll need to set up a personal Google+ profile. You can log into Google+ with your existing login and password or set up an entirely new profile:
https://plus.google.com

Here is a Google+ walk-through: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/profile/

Filling out the profile can be somewhat confusing. You can always add to your circles later. You will need to upload a photo of yourself. Right now Google authorship only works with personal profiles and photos of people, but like Facebook, you can always set up additional business pages.

1. Google Authorship – Setting up links from your Google+ profile
When you login to Google+ you’ll be at the Home section. On the left under the Google+ logo click Home to get a list of options and then click on Profile.

home-google-plus

Above the main graphic that holds your photo click About. Now you’ll now be able to edit your profile.

about-googleScroll down to the Links section. At the bottom of that box click Edit. Then under Contributor To click Add Custom Link. This is where you add the link to the page(s) you want your photo associated with.

contributor-google

You may add as many custom links as you want. You’ll now need to confirm you are the author/owner of this page or pages.

2. Confirming Authorship

Direct Association
You will need to add a specific Google+ link to your website or blog. First let’s identify the link to your Google+ profile.
Figure : Where to find the URL for your Google+ profile (click to enlarge)
google-url

Copy your Google+ address.

This is a sample line of code you will use: (click to enlarge)
code-sample

Replace this part:
https://plus.google.com/118046254103969451005 with your Google+ URL. Don’t lose the ?rel=author part. That is the key to verifying your authorship of this page. Add this link to your website or byline on a blog page (see mine to the right) and your photo will show up when these pages show up in a Google search.

3. Verify Authorship Is Working
After you have placed the code on your site, Google will tell you if it is working correctly. Go to the URL below and submit the links for the page(s) you claim ownership to.
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

You’ve done all that work and you want to see the results. Unfortunately, your photo may take 8-10 days to start to show up. If two pages show up in a search, it will only display the photo on one. Also, if you are logged into Google, you may not see your photo displayed.

Be patient and enjoy the benefits when it does show up.

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