Have you noticed head-shots of people showing up in your search results? It’s because of a new feature that Google rolled out recently called Google Authorship. Google Authorship is an extension of Google Plus, Google’s social media venture. It links content to its author (through their Google Plus profile) to add credibility and weed out spam and plagiarizers. That’s all well and good, but why should you care?
If you enable it for your website or blog, suddenly, your website looks more attractive to users and Google will rank it higher in the search results. When people share and “+1” your links, Google recognizes it and factors it into your results. If you are blogging about photography, for example, and people are constantly sharing and “+1”ing your photography blog posts, Google will recognize you as an “expert” in photography and rank you higher in those searches. The more you increase your “authority,” the higher Google will rank you as an author in whatever you do. And just look how attractive it looks compared to other links:
It’s no wonder that, according to search marketing firm Catalyst, adding Google Authorship improves your click-through rate (how many people click your link) by 150%.
So how do you do it? It’s a little tricky.
Part One: Set up a GooglePlus Account
If you have any sort of Google login (for Gmail, WebmasterTools, YouTube, Blogger etc), you already have a GooglePlus linked to that email. Login to that email. Click to GooglePlus and fill out your account. The more filled out your account is, the more attractive your page will look to visitors. At the very least, you need to have a profile picture (preferably a headshot that clearly shows your facial features) and all the basic About information.
Part Two: Install onto your Website
If you are on Wordpress:
1. Install Wordpress SEO by Yoast, All In One SEO Pack or Google Plus Authorship plugins.
2. Log in to the Wordpress dashboard
3. Go to Users —> Your Profile
4. Scroll down to Contact Info —> “Google+” and enter the URL of your Google Plus profile page.
If you are on SquareSpace:
1. Login to your SquareSpace Account.
2. Go to Settings —> Contributors
3. Select your name and fill out the section “Google+ Profile URL,” with your profile’s URL.
For updating on other blog/sites platforms:
Option 1: If the domain in your email address is the same as the website you want authorship on
1. Go to the Google Authorship page and submit your email address to Google.
Option 2: If your email address is not the same
1. You’re going to need to go directly into the website code and insert this within the <head> section of your website’s page template:
2. Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL.
Part Three: Add A Reciprocal Link on GooglePlus Profile
1. Go back to your Google+ profile.
2. Add a link to your website or blog homepage in the “Contributor to” of your Google+ profile.
Now you should be all set up. It can take a few weeks to go through, so be patient. If you want to check in the meantime if it's working, go to Google’s tester.