Authorship and usage of the rel=author tag is not exactly new, in fact, google has been supporting the authorship markup (and strongly suggesting that we use it) since June of 2011. The only thing is, until now, implementation has been clumsy and confusing. Thankfully now it’s easy!

Since learning about authorship and the rel=author tag for claiming content and improving visibility, I was excited about the possibilities and had it on my “list of things to do” for… well almost a year!

I spent many hours researching, testing and trying to find the best way to make rel=author work with minimal effort, because you still need time to actually create content when you’re an author right?

But sadly, all the old ways to integrate authorship on your site were difficult to understand even for the most advanced webmasters and required a link on each content page to an author page on your site which then linked to your Google profile and then your Google profile had to be linked back to that author page, etc… a real mess!

Today I’m happy to say that I found a way to get Authorship working with your Google profile in just 3 easy steps.

Don’t know what rel=author is or why you even should use it?

The authorship tag identifies your content as your content in your Google profile and enables enriched search results showing your profile pic which can help increase your visibility as an online authority on your topic(s), help people discover more of your content through your profile and also increase click through rates to your pages since the search results can appear more trustworthy. It can also help to establish your content as the “original source” so in the event that someone scrapes/steals your content and tries to use it as their own, Google will see that the author is still you.

And that’s just for the moment. There are hopes, dreams and a lot of talk going on about how this could affect SEO rankings and the benefits for strong author profiles.

Here’s what a normal search result looks like (no authorship) and what an enriched authorship search result looks like:

Big difference!

If you don’t yet have a Google Plus profile, you will need to create one before you set this up (in which case it would actually make it 4 steps I guess…).

So here are the 3 Steps:

  1. Add the following code inside the HEAD tags of your page(s):

    <link rel="author" href="YOUR-GOOGLE-PROFILE-URL-HERE"/>

    (Make sure that the URL is that of your Google+ profile. You can find this URL by clicking on “profile” in your Google+ account, then just copy and paste the URL that appears in your address bar). Placing this code just after the TITLE tags should work fine…

  2. Login to your Google+ account, click on “Profile”, then on “Edit Profile”. Scroll down to “Contributor to” and add the website that you have put authorship on from step 1. Make sure that you have it set to “Public” before you save.
  3. While still in your profile, go to the +1′s tab and make sure that “Show this tab on your profile” is checked.

That’s it!

Google has provided a tool that allows you to check to ensure everything was setup correctly here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

If setup correctly, you will see your Google+ profile photo included in the listing preview.

 

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