Google+ and Google Authorship Markup

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If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to create a Google+ account and ensure that your website and blog have the appropriate Google Authorship Markup. Google+ is their own Social Network hub designed to share as you would in real life. Check out Circles, Events and Hangouts… For a business, it will become a vital addition to your SEO strategy as Google+ fills up the SERPS.

In this article I explain how to ensure this is done, especially for those using the WordPress framework. If you are unsure about Google+ and Authorship, check out the Matt Cutts article – authorship markup and web search.

The process to obtain authorship

For authorship to work correctly Google needs to complete a circuit of verified trust between it and your published content. To do this, you must have two things:

  1. A verified digital identify (email address) that is attributed to your Google+ profile. This email address needs to be on the same domain as your website i.e.
  2. Your published content needs to have the correct on-page markup so Google can detect you as the author.

There are other ways of obtaining Google authorship, but the quickest and easiest method is via email verification. Let’s define these methods:

Setup a Google+ account and profile for authorship markup.

If you have any existing Google account (Gmail, Google docs, Google Webmaster Tools, etc.), then you already have at least a stub Google+ profile. Perhaps yours is already somewhat filled out. But Google authorship markup mandates specific data requirements in that profile, so let’s get it set up right.

  1. Browse to
  2. Sign in to your Google account (or create one if necessary).
  3. When prompted, upload a clear facial, head shot photo to the profile. No abstract art, no cartoons, etc.
  1. Click Set as Profile Photo .
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click +1’s, select the Show this tab on your profile checkbox, and then click Save.
  1. Click About, click Other profiles, click Add custom link, and then add labels and URLs for each of your other social media account profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, etc. Click Save when done.
You may optionally complete the sections about your occupation, employment, and other pertinent information pertaining to your areas of expertise. While these elements are not required for authorship markup, they can often contribute an added degree of credibility to an author, which will builds up your reputation.
When you are done completing your Google+ profile, be sure to click Done editing to save all of your changes.
Next Steps
Type or paste the email address used in your content’s byline link into the Step 4 text box, and then click Signup for Authorship. It must be an email address on the same domain as the website you are claiming authorship i.e.
Look for a verification email from Google sent to that email address. Once received, click the link within the email to verify you own the email address.
Configuring Your WordPress Website for Markup
A number of WordPress themes enable authors to create custom biography snippets in their WordPress User Profiles, which are shown at the bottom of each post. For themes that don’t support this feature, site administrators can add this specific feature with the WordPress plugin WP Biographia.

By including a link to the author’s Google+ profile using rel=author code in the biographical snippet in each post, no author biography page is needed, eliminating the need for rel=me code. Follow these steps to make this work:

  1. Log in to the WordPress site.
  2. From the Dashboard, click Users, and then click Your Profile.
  3. Scroll down to the About Yourself section. the Biographical Info box, add a few brief lines of text to serve as your online biography snippet, then add a link to your Google+ profile using the anchor text “Google+” (omit the quotes). The following is an example of the tag source code (be sure to use your own 21-digit ID number):
    <a href="">Google+</a>

Note: The above procedure assumes the location of the author biography snippet is the User Profile. If your theme allows for author information within the built-in post editor, add the link from Step 3 there.

Verify the Google Authorship Markup Code is Valid

Once you have the Google+ profile and your content pages configured, you need to validate your work. Google makes this easy to do.

  1. Browse to the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool page.
  2. Type (or paste) the URL of a content page in the text box and then click Preview.
  3. Review the results for errors.
  4. If using the 3-link method with an author biography page, type (or paste) the URL of the author biography page in the text box and then click Preview.
  5. Review the results for errors.

In both cases, you should see lines displaying the following data:

Extracted Author/Publisher for this page

linked author profile = {URL to your author biography page, if used, or a link to your Google+ profile} google profile = {URL to your Google+ profile} author name = {Author Name} Verified: Authorship markup is verified for this page.

If any of the above author results contain red text, that indicates something is not configured correctly. Carefully review the steps above to debug the work. Note that the email method is automatically verified when you use the Link your Google+ profile to the content you create tool to register and then verify your email address.

Note: Google also recognizes the attribute rel=”publisher” to identify the site that originally published the content it contains. However, the rel=publisher attribute only needs to be used on the site’s home page.

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