You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search on Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”
For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities, and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”
Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.
The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.
Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile
If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:
- Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
- Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
- Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
- This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.
Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts
There are a couple of different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”
Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb.
It is good to include links to some of the other social media channels you use, the same headshot used for a Google+ profile (this could be any picture; but it is good to be consistent) and a little about yourself.
Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:
<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>
Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and
- do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
- Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
- You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.
Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:
Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:
Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:
<img src=”http://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author [name]” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by [name]</strong><br />
[name] is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, [name] supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/[name]” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”http://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.
Step 3: It’s Alive!
Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.
An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:
Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:
“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)
True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors who have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.
In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.
In support of your efforts,
Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today! Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written.
As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.
If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!
Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.
Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.
Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.
Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.
Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.
Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.