tony mai google authorshipBy now, you should’ve surely noticed the profile photos showing up next to articles on Google’s search result pages. Google introduced content authorship two years ago and it is more common than ever now. If you are a content writer, it is almost necessary to implement authorship to make sure Google properly attributes your content to you as the owner.

There are numerous how-to’s on the web, including Google’s own documentation, but people are still posting questions all over asking why they can’t get Google Authorship to work.

I will try to write a more in-depth guide (including WordPress-specific tips). There are two options to implement Google Authorship for your content. 

google email verificationEmail Verification Option:

If you have an email address under the same domain is your content, the process is much easier. Go to the Google Authorship page and follow the instructions on the page to verify your email address.

Make sure that:

  • You have a profile photo with a good, recognizable headshot on your Google+ profile. It must be a headshot (this is important! no full body shots).
  • There is a byline with your name displayed on each page of your content (i.e. By Tony Mai).
  • Make sure the byline name on your pages matches your Google+ profile name.

Once that is all set, type in your email address and click on “Sign up for Authorship” to submit it for verification. That is all!

Authorship Linking Option:

For those of you who don’t have an email address under the same domain as your content (many don’t), here is the other option for you to link your content to your Google+ profile. This process is a bit more involved, but still easy to do.

1. Add a first link to your Google+ profile from your content pages’ header.

Add this code in between your <head> and </head> tags:

<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/102292559069294117755/posts“/>

Replace the URL highlighted in red with the URL to your own Google+ profile.

yoast google plusWordPress Shortcut

If you are using WordPress as your CMS, there are plugins that will allow you to easily link to your Google+ profile without manually editing the HTML. I would recommend Yoast WordPress SEO.

yoast sourceAfter you installed Yoast, go to Users -> Your Profile and scroll down to Contact Info. You should now have a field to fill in your Google+ information. Paste your Google+ profile URL into that field.

Afterwards, you should be able to see the HTML automatically added to your blog articles if you view the pages’ source code.

2. Add a publicly displayed link to your Google+ profile from your content pages.

Add this code to your content pages:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/102292559069294117755“>Tony Mai</a>

Replace the text highlighted in red with the URL to your own Google+ profile and the name that matches the one on your Google+ profile.

wordpress google plus sharingWordPress Shortcut

Install Jetpack and configure Publicize from the Jetpack settings (or go to Settings -> Sharing). If your site is hosted directly on WordPress.com, this plugin should be installed already. There will be a section for you to sign in to your Google+ profile.

After that, your name and link to your Google+ profile should be displayed on all of your blog articles.

google plus contributor to3. Add a reciprocal link from your Google+ profile to your content pages.

On your Google+ profile, navigate to About -> Links -> Edit -> Contributor to -> Add custom link (or click here) and add the URL to your website.

4. Test your pages to make sure you did everything correctly.

google structured data testing toolGo to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to verify that you implemented all the steps correctly.

Note: There may be a way to combine steps 1 and 2 of this option, but since Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool lists them as two separate checks (numbers 1 and 2 in red on the screenshot), I split them up into two separate steps to be on the safe side.

Your profile photo may not show even after you passed Google’s structured data test. This tool only tests the verification process. There may be other factors preventing your profile photo from showing (i.e. your profile photo head shot is not clear enough).

After you implemented Google Authorship, it can take anywhere from a few day to a few weeks for your profile photo to show up next to your content on the search result pages.

Google Authorship still not working for you? Leave a comment and I’ll try to help you figure why it’s not working.