- The rel=”author” tag should be in the link between the byline in your posts and your author “about me” page.
- The rel=”me” tag should be in a link to your Google+ profile.
- There should be a link from your Google+ profile back to your site’s “about me” page.
Note: If you have a single author blog, Google has now provided a simpler method to verify your authorship by verifying your email address with Google. Jump down to the heading “Simpler Methods for Single Author Blogs” below.
Setting Up Author Verification in WordPress
Step 1: Create a Google+ Profile…if you don’t already have one. If not:
- Go to http://profiles.google.com and click “Create my profile”
- Sign in with your Google account. (If you don’t have one, go to https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount)
- Fill out your profile as completely as you like. For our purposes here, you must include a profile photo (use the same one you use on your blog). This should be a clear headshot.
- Google recommends making the +1 page of your profile public. That page displays anything that you have publicly “+1ed” on the web. I’m not sure what this has to do with author verification, but they recommend it so I’d do it. While in edit mode on your profile, click the +1 tab and check the box “show this tab on your profile.”
Step 2: Create an Author Bio Page & Link to Your Google+ ProfileBefore you do anything else, you need to make sure you have an author “about me” page on the same domain as your posts, with some important elements included. Important: make sure you’ve updated WordPress to the latest version. Older versions may not let you insert the rel tag in your author link. NOTE: If you use Google’s Blogger product, skip this step. Just link your Blogger account to your Google+ profile and you’re set. However, you do still need to do Step 4 below and properly link back from Google+ to your Blogger blog.
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Users” > “All Users” and select your user profile.
- Fill in any relevant fields if you haven’t already. Use your full first and last name as they appear on your Google+ Profile. The only other field important to what we’re doing here is the “Biographical Info” field.
- In the “Biographical Info” field, in addition to whatever information about yourself you want to include, add the following using standard HTML:
- An img link to a good, clear headshot photo of you. This should be the same image used in your Google+ profile (see above).
- A link to your Google+ profile including the rel=”me” tag, with a + at the end of the anchor text. End the anchor text (the text that is displayed for the link) with a +. So if your anchor text is My Google Profile, make it My Google Profile+.
Here’s an example:
<a href=”https://profiles.google.com/Google_Profile_ID” rel=”me”>My Google Profile+</a>Note: If you have a multi-author blog, try the WordPress plugin “Google Authorship for Multiple Authors” by +Fraser Cain.
- Each author of your blog needs to edit their Google+ profile to list the website in the “Contributor To” field.
- Install the plugin. It’s easiest to go to Plugins -> Add New -> and then search for “Google authorship for multiple authors” in your WordPress admin.
- Each author needs to update their WordPress User profile and put a link to their Google+ profile.
- It’ll take time for Google to reindex your pages, but if you want to test it out, copy-paste your URL using Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool.
Step 3: Link Your Author Byline to Your Blog “About Me” PageWarning: You’re going to be messing with the HTML in the template for your WordPress site, so proceed with caution! I recommend backing up your site, or at least copying the original single post template code and pasting it in a text file so you can always restore it if something goes amiss.
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance” > “Editor”
- From the list of templates, select “Single Post” (single.php). This template controls how your individual blog posts look.
- Find where your author name is inserted into your posts. This is the tricky part, because the code will vary widely between different templates. In most templates you should look for some code referencing “author vcard”. Find the link code (HTML tag starting with <a) that links the author name to the about author page. It will probably contain some variant of get_author in it. Mine begins like this (with a lot of other code I’m not showing): <a class=”url fn author”</a>. If you can’t find that or are unsure, use step 4.
- Optional, if you can’t do step 3. If you are a single author blog, you can just add the Google+ Profile Button to your site. Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/profilebutton/ , select the button you want, copy the code, and paste it into your site’s HTML where you want it to appear.
- Add rel=”author” into that tag. So now mine appears (again, with a lot of code left out): <a class=”url fn author” rel=”author”</a>
Step 4: Link Your Google+ Profile to Your Blog About Me Page
- On your blog, go to your author bio page (just click your linked name in any of your posts) and copy the URL for that page.
- Make sure you’re logged in to your Google account, then go to http://profiles.google.com
- Click the “Edit Profile” button
- Find the “Contributor to” section near the bottom of the page and click on it to edit it
- In the edit box, click “Add custom link.” In the first box put your link text preceded by a + (e.g. “+Joe Smith’s Blog”). In the second box paste the URL from your blog’s “about me” page that you copied in step 1. Important: If this is a multi-author blog, be sure to link to your individual author page on that blog, not the root domain of the site. Linking to the root domain can cause Google to mis-attribute authorship on multi-author blogs.
- Click “Save” and then “Done Editing.”
Step 5: Confirm Your Verification Link
- Go to the Google Webmasters Tools Rich Snippets Testing Tool.
- Enter the URL of your author “about me” page from your blog and click “Preview”
- The tool will show you an example of how a search result for your blog might look in Google. If you did everything correctly, you should see your author photo next to the sample result.
- In the “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section, you should also see your author name and green text confirming author verification.
- Create a Google+ Profile if you don’t already have one (see Step #1 above).
- Go to Google’s email authorship verification form.
- Enter your email address in the blank and click the signup button.
- Make sure all your content has a byline in the form “By Your Name” (e.g., By Mark Traphagen). This must exactly match the name on your Google+ profile.
- Google will automatically add a link back to your site in the “Contributor to” section of your Google+ profile. They will also add the email address you submitted as a work email address in your profile. If you don’t want that address visible to the public, edit your profile, click on the section where the address shows, and change the privacy setting.
So Where’s My Author Photo?Don’t be discouraged if you don’t quickly start seeing your author photo and byline on search results for your posts. You should keep in mind that:
- It will take some time for Google to begin to associate your posts with your profile. I saw it first on posts I’d created since completing my verification. A few days later it started appearing on older posts.
- Google doesn’t guarantee that your author photo will always show in results. Google uses complex algorithms to determine not only the order of its search results, but when special features like the author photo help build relevance for the particular searcher.