If you or your company has a blog, you know that there are real life people behind the words that are published. Since copyrights are notoriously difficult to establish on the internet, those words are not always properly attributed to those real life people. Luckily, Google has created a new way to verify content authorship, and index that content in a dynamic way: Google Authorship.
In 2012, Google introduced “Authorship”, a new way of linking and verifying content to its author in search results. Not only does this new service allow content creators, such as bloggers, to distinguish themselves in search results displaying their work, but it also verifies that the content is definitively by them.
It’s important to know that authorship is just one small segment of a wide range of markup tools known as Rich Snippets. These are HTML tags that webmasters can integrate into their pages to enhance recognition from search engines; in turn, providing them with more detailed data. Current data types include a person, reviews, businesses, products, and recipes. You can read more about rich snippets from Schema.org, but for now lets focus on the person and authorship segment.
Google Authorship, at its core, is established by linking your Google+ page to your website through reciprocal linking. It’s a very simple 2 step process, and using WordPress as a platform makes it even easier. To get started, make sure you have the “All In One SEO Pack” plugin installed, as it does most of the heavy-lifting code-wise for you, and then follow these steps (click on the images to enlarge).
Add a link to your Google+ profile on your website.
The All In One SEO Pack plugin adds a new “Google+” option under each WordPress user’s profile. Create a WordPress user account for each contributor with their real first and last name, as well as their Google+ profile link. The plugin will automatically generate a hidden meta tag in the site’s header that links to that post’s author page. This makes managing authorship on a blog with multiple contributors (such as this one) a breeze. Note: Just make sure the right person is selected from the “Author” dropdown menu when editing a post.
Add a link to your website on your Google+ profile.
Log in to your Google+ profile and navigate to your personal “About” section. Click on the “Edit profile” and scroll down to the “Contributor to” section towards the bottom of the page. Add a new link to the section with your website’s URL and title, and then save it. Now Google will be able to link your blog posts and properly attribute them to your profile.
It’s as simple as those two steps! Tip: Since your profile is being linked to directly in search results make sure it’s a profile you don’t mind the public viewing!
To check your work and ensure that Google can see the linked profile, take advantage of Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Not only will this tool tell you if your linked profile is working properly with a prominent green “ Verified” badge, but it will also show any other rich snippet data that may already be coded into the page and point out data that may be improperly linked.
This post, for example, shows my profile as the author, KathodeRay’s profile as the publisher, and then breaks down the embedded post data such as date published, and categories used.
Once your authorship settings are up and running, you can track the success of yourself and other authors through Google’s “Author Stats” tool under the “Labs” section of Webmaster Tools. This provides a look at impressions, clicks, and location data related to each author’s post.
Now that you’ve conquered Authorship, there’s a myriad of other data types you can tackle to enhance your website’s visibility in search results and index-ability by search engines. Schema.org has all the information you need to get started, but look out for another post on rich snippets in the future.