Google Authorship Tutorial
Download the Tutorial as an Infographic!
Want a quick reference for adding Google Authorship to your website? Fill out the form to to the right to receive a download link and save the JPG for future reference.
The infographic is courtesy of Kevin Kennedy, who took the tutorial and streamlined it to produce this great cheat sheet for simple implementation of Google Authorship. Enjoy!
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship is an effort to connect content authors to their other contributions on the web in Google search results. SEOs are strongly pushing authorship as a way to heighten brand value and declare content ownership.
The enhanced display of search results, like author picture and links to their other articles (seen to the right), provides richer and more engaging context compared to other results on the page. Most importantly, Authorship increases rankings by generating trust between content producers and search engines.
What You Will Need for Google Authorship
To affectively setup Google Authorship, it's recommended that you have a few things in place first. Namely, 1) a website at a unique domain, 2) an email address at the same domain, 3) a Google+ Profile linked to that email address, and 4) an about author page.
Website and Email Address with a Matching Unique Domain
The primary method Google uses to verify an author is by connecting them to a Google+ profile. If you already have a G+ profile, make sure your unique-domain email address is linked to your profile. Alternatively, as I have done, setup a new G+ account if you prefer to have your personal and business personas separate.
Author About Page
As we'll get into below, for Authorship, Google requires that you link your name to your Google+ profile. However, they recognize you probably don't want to do this from your byline as that takes users away from your website.
The preferred method is to link your byline to an about author page that provides more detail about the author. Generally a short bio, with links to their profiles across the web. Namely, of course, the author's Google+ profile, but also email contact and other social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
Notice in the screenshot to the right the contact link to Google+ in the author page. That's where the Authorship connection happens.
Once you have the prerequisites, you are ready to setup Google Authorship with the simple steps below.
Signup for Google Authorship
First, you'll need to signup for Google Authorship at plus.google.com/authorship. This step will validate your email address and connect Authorship to your Google+ profile.
Add Your Website as a "Contributor To" in your Google+ Profile
Google wants as much validation as possible to connect an author to their content, and recommends adding the website domains you're contributing to in the Links section of your Google+ profile.
Go to your G+ profile, and in the right column of your public profile, there's a Links section where you can Add custom link pointing to your website. In this case, I've linked sitemason.com in my G+ profile's Links as a Contributor To.
Include rel="me" In the Author Byline Link
There are only two small markup additions required for Authorship, but they are critical for making it work. First, your byline will need to be a hyperlink to your author page and include rel="me" in the anchor tag. Below is an example of a byline from a recent blog post.
By <a href="/about/authors/billy-white" rel="me">Billy White</a>
The name in your byline must match the name in your Google+ profile and about author page. It's crucial that these all match.
Add rel="author" to Google+ Profile Link
The second markup addition is to add rel="author" to the link going to the author's Google+ profile on the author page.
<a href="https://plus.google.com/102578786753437578333/" rel="author">Google+</a>
Data Testing and Author Stats
Once you've setup authorship using the above steps, it's time to test your work. Google Webmaster Tools has two tools in particular that will help test and troubleshoot your setup. The Structured Data Testing Tool will return how Google reads a web page, and Author Stats will provide analytics on all articles for the currently logged in author.
The Structured Data Testing Tool in particular is invaluable in analyzing your page for authorship, as well other embedded meta data in the page.
After submitting your URL for analysis, at the top of the results you'll see a Preview of how your article will appear in search results. If Authorship is working correctly, you will see the author photo along with their byline hyperlinked to more articles by the author.
Authorship Testing Results further validate the success by providing links to the author's Google+ profile.
Read More Around the Web
If you're interested in learning more, the resources used to compile this tutorial can be found below: