Recently Google announced it was piloting the display of author information in search results. This new development from Google, simply known as Google Authorship, was actually overshadowed by the buzz generated with the launching of Google+. As a result, many bloggers and webmaster were in the dark about Google Authorship. In this blog post I want to detail what Google Authorship is all about and how you can implement it in your blog.
Since hearing about Google Authorship and realizing the impact it might have on the search results in the days to come, I went in search of a way to set up the Web Income Journal so that all the authors who have an account here can have their information show up in the search results against their content. At first, there were some challenges but after trying various angles and after working for about 2 weeks on it, I was able to set it up. Here’s a graphic of my previous post when I tested it using the Google rich snippets testing tool :
Why Google Authorship?
But why is Google concerned about showing author information in search results? From all indications, the basic reasons for Google Authorship are:
1. It is to help users locate great content.
2. To give credit to creators of good content. For example, once you verify a piece of content as yours Google keep this record and even if someone else copies the content (the way content farms do) your author information will be associated with it even if that content gets listed on the search engines for the copying site. It does appear that this is a followup to the Google Panda update.
3. Google Authorship is also about branding. This is what most big name brands are really concerned with. Associating your content with your author information in the search results helps build your brand. It enhances the status of the authors.
It does appear that Google is still working on this feature as it announced that this is being rolled out gradually. The fact that it also said that it will be implemented algorithmically shows that this may take on some very important position as regards content publishing in the future. So if you have not implemented google authorship on your blog it's time to do so!
Note: Google says there is no guarantee that your author information will be shown in Google Web Search or Google News results even when you have updated your authorship as the feature is being rolled out gradually!
What Is Required To Show Author Information In Search?
There are basically three things you need to show your author information in the search results.
1. You need a Google Profile
2. You need a recognizable headshot as your profile photo, and
3. You need to verify your content by associating it with your Google profile.
Of these three, verifying your content is where you need to do some coding or linking before Google Authorship can work effectively.
A few days ago, Google announced a new way of verify your content through email. However, from my research, this is effective only if you write content in just one place or if you only use one email address all over the web. Besides, you will need to make this email address public on your Google+ profile. Needless to say that this must be a Gmail address!
The process I highlight here however demands you meddling with your blog codes but this is the more popular method right now.
How to Verify Your Content to Show Author Information in Search
There are basically two ways given by Google to verify your content. Depending on the type of site you’re running, you can choose any of the 2 methods. For example if you’re running a single author site/blog, the first method is advocated while if you have a multiple author site/blog the second method is advocated.
Note: Verifying your content simply means associating your content with your author information so that Google will be able to show that you're the author of that content.
Here are the two methods:
This is a 2-step method. This method is simply the best for single author sites. Here is what is involved.
Step 1: Link your content page to your Google plus profile using the rel=author feature. Please note that Google requires you to add the + sign for the link to work. For example, here’s an example of my link to my Google profile:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/109455480733639021020/about” rel=”author”>Chadrack Google+ profile</a>
This is the link: Chadrack Google+ profile
Step 2: Link your Google profile to the site containing your content. You don’t need to link to the content page. A link to the home page will do the trick. To do this simply login to your Google plus account and click on “Edit profile”. Locate the “Contributor to” section on your profile and then click on “Add custom link”. Enter the home page url of the site you’re linking to and click “Save”. Remember to click on “Done editing”.
This is a 3-step linking method. This method is recommended for sites that have multiple authors. The purpose is to ensure that each of the authors is able to claim their respective content. For example, on this blog where I accept guest posts, this method will ensure that every author who has posted an article here is able to claim their content instead of every one of them showing up as my content in the search results. Here is what is involved.
Step 1: Link the content page with your author page on the same site using the rel=author feature. For example, WordPress blogs have a page for each of the authors and each post has its own page. My author page on this blog is:
To use this method therefore I would link every of my articles on this site to that page. For example,
Chadrack has written <a rel=”author” href=”http://webincomejournal.com/author/Chadrack” >20 articles </a> for the WebIncomeJournal!
This will of course return the link: Chadrack has written 20 articles for the WebIncomeJournal!
Step 2: Link the author page to your Google profile using the rel=me feature. For example:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/109455480733639021020/about” rel=”me”>Chadrack is also on Google+</a>
This will return the link: Chadrack is also on Google+
This link from the author page tells Google that this author is the owner of the content linked from the content page in step 1 above.
Step 3: Link back from your Google plus profile to your author page on the site. To do this simply login to your Google plus account and click on “Edit profile.” Locate the “Contributor to” section on your profile and then click on “Add custom link”. Enter your author page link and click “Save”. Remember to click on “Done editing”.
Note that unlike the link in method #1 above, the link is not to the home page but the author’s page on the site. This way Google will be able to associate each content with the rightful author though all the content appears in the same site.
As I’ve mentioned, the type of site you’re running will determine the method of linking you would go for. From my personal experiment so far a single author site/blog is much easier to verify. For example, if you are running a self authored blog (for example, no guest articles) the quickest way to verify your content is to add the Google profile button to your blog. This will link your blog to your Google profile using the rel=author feature without you doing any coding. Once you have added the Google profile button, login to your Google plus account and add the custom link as detailed above.
Challenges Implementing Authorship on the WebIncomeJournal.com
When I learned of Google Authorship and decided to implement it on this blog I never knew it was going to take me over a week to set up. Because the Web Income Journal is a multiple author blog (there are guest posts written by other bloggers and I wanted to give everyone the credit for their content) I ran into some problems. It was a real challenge for me. The good news is that after working for days, I have been able to set the system up and so every author on this blog can now verify their content with ease.
How did I do it? I’m sure you’ll want to know, right?
No problem I’m ready to give you a step by step account of how I overcame the challenges and set up this blog for every author to claim their content. I will also show you the resources I used. And so I ask that you keep a date with me.
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Over to you: Have you implemented Google Authorship on your site/blog? Did you find it challenging or was it a smooth ride for you? What do you think of this Google Authorship? Post your comments and share your thoughts with us below.
Hey, almost forget this. I'll appreciate if you will +1 this post and at least tweet it as an encouragement from you!