Using Google Authorship to assist with SEO - Part 1

Jul 13, 2014 8:05 pm

Google has implemented a feature in Google Web Search and Google News that displays author information in search results.

Google calls this "Authorship" and Google claims that "it assists users discover great content." For example, when you search, you may see the name of a page’s author next to your results.

Some examples of "Authorship" can be seen in these screenshots:

Note the "by Mark Zeiter" and "by Jeff Kline" with the search results. This helps you quickly find the work of your favorite authors.

Google provides several methods of adding Authorship to search results as well as the ability to add Authorship code to your web pages programatically. This is easily added in Freedom Green Layouts.

I'll detail the steps here to sign up and link Authorship - but it will span a couple of posts to keep things organized.

I'll also point out an online tool that will allow you to check that a page has authorship applied to it.

So, lets start!

First, a prerequisite: Google+
Any individual who wishes to include Authorship in search results needs to have a Google+ profile activated and filled out.

Google+ (https://plus.google.com/) is Google's social networking platform.

While Google+ hasn't enjoyed the wide adoption seen by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the addition of Authorship provides an incentive of web content publishers to create and use a Google+ profile to boost their visibility in Google search results.

For authorship information to appear in search results for the content you create, you'll need an active Google+ Profile with details well filled out. It must also contain a good, recognizable headshot as your profile photo. You'll then verify authorship of your content by associating it with your profile.

To sign up for Google+ visit this link: https://plus.google.com/ and follow the sign up steps.

Tip: It's best to also have your Google+ account registered with an email address of the specific domain you'll be posting on (for example your.name@example.com for posts on www.example.com), but this is not strictly required.

If you use Google Apps, you can also quickly create a Google+ profile by clicking on the +You icon under the Apps grid:

Once you have created you Google+ account and filled out your profile, continue to Part 2 of this post.

Using Google Authorship to assist with SEO - Part 2

Jul 13, 2014 9:33 pm

After following Part 1 of "Using Google Authorship to assist with SEO" you should now have a Google+ profile set up and available for use in the next steps in activating Google Authorship. Here is the first method of activating Authorship:

Authorship Option 1: Link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email account
To link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile.

  1. Sign up for Google+ (https://plus.google.com) and create a Google+ profile. (This should be done at this point)
  2. Confirm you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.
  3. Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, "By William Winter" is in all of you Accrisoft Freedom Blog posts).
  4. Make sure your byline name precisely matches the name on your Google+ profile.
  5. Verify you have an email address (such as your.name@example.com) on the same domain as your content.
    * Don't have an email address on the same domain you are posting on? I'll explain a method to link your content to your Google+ profile in a future part of this post.
  6. Visit https://plus.google.com/authorship and enter your email address.

A verification email will be sent to the email address you entered in step 6. You'll need to click on the "Verify" link in the email to complete the process.

To verify without an email specific to the domain you're posting on, review Part 3 in this post series.

Using Google Authorship to assist with SEO - Part 3

Jul 13, 2014 10:10 pm

If you do not have a domain specific email address for the content you wish to link Authorship to, you can follow the steps below. This method can also be enhanced with additions to the Module Layout in Accrisoft Freedom.

Option 2: Set up authorship by linking your content to your Google+ profile

  1. Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this:
    <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

    Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this:
    <a href="https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202?
       rel=author">Google</a>

    Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it's missing, Google won't be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.
  2. Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.
    * Edit the Contributor To section here: http://plus.google.com/me/about/edit/co
    * In the dialog that appears, click Add custom link, and then enter the website URL.
    * If you want, click the drop-down list to specify who can see the link.
    * Click Save.
  3. To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the structured data testing tool here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Some ideas on how to customize module layout code with workaround to add the Profile URL and ?rel=author parameter coming next.