Google Authorship

June 20, 2014 Maithilish

8.3. Google Authorship

In the previous section, we saw some of the important SEO techniques to improve page ranking. In this section, we enable the Google Authorship, which is considered by many as one of the essential SEO activity.
Google Authorship links the contents to their authors. For linked content, search result displays the author’s name in the by-line, and when Google feels it is appropriate, it also displays the author’s profile image next to the result.
Google Authorship in WordPress
Enabling Authorship for your posts and page is important as it provides some sort of authenticity to the pages. It may also results in higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR) in searches.
By the end of 2013, Google has put in place some stringent quality policy to get through the Authorship, and they expect high quality pages. To get the author’s photo in search result has now become even tougher as they appear only for few deserving ones.
When we are confident about the site’s content and quality, then we should go for Authorship for the pages.
To enable Google Authorship, we require a Google Plus Profile with a good quality head shot as the profile photo. Refer Google Authorship guidelines about the image specifics.
Pages and Posts of the site should contain a link to the Google Plus Profile in its header something like:

rel="author" href=""/>

In WordPress, there is no need to insert this in each and every page. Instead, we can depend on WordPress SEO to add the links to all Posts and Pages.
To start with, we must add Google Plus Profile link to the user profile. To do that, go to DashboardUsersAll Users and edit the user whom we want to link. In user profile screen, scroll down to Contact Info section and enter his or her Google+ profile link in the Google+ field and save settings.
Next, we need to enable WordPress SEO Plugin to add rel=author link to all posts and pages. Go to DashboardSEOTitles and Metas and select Post Types tab. Both for Posts and Page, uncheck Authorship: Don’t show rel=”author” checkbox. For Media type, check the authorship setting as we do not want to add rel=author to media files. Save the settings and clear the W3 Total cache.
Google Authorship view source rel=author
To verify whether WordPress SEO adds the rel=author link, open any post and page from the site and view its source and we should see a rel=author line as highlighted in the screenshot.
Having finished the setup on WordPress side, we have to setup user’s Google+ profile. Login to user’s Google+ page and click on Home (on the top left) and select Profile from the dropdown menu.
Google Authorship - Google Plus dropdown menu
From the profile page, select About tab and scroll down to Links section and click Edit. We need to add a site to Contributor to item. Click Add Custom Link under Contributor and fill in label and site URL and save.
Lastly, select Settings from dropdown menu and scroll down to Profile section and enable Help others discover my profile in search results and save changes.
Google Authorship - Structured Data Testing Tools Authorship Testing Result
With these changes, we have enabled Google Authorship. To confirm the proper Authorship setup, use Structured Data Testing Tools. Preview some of the pages from the site and check authorship sections – Authorship Testing Result and Authorship rel=author Markup.
Passing testing result just assures us that setup is fine, but it does not guarantee the appearance of authorship in the search result. Google bots and specialist go through the pages, and if pages qualify then they enable the authorship. After the setup, it may take up to 2 to 3 weeks for author’s name to appear in search results, and it may take additional 2 weeks for Profile photo to appear, that too only if Google find it appropriate to display the image in the result.
So far, our WordPress site went through many improvements, performance tuning and search engine optimizations. In the next chapter, we cover Webmaster Tools that focus on some of the related aspects.