Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Google Authorship: What and Why and Possibly How

As a blogger and writer, you may have heard of Google Authorship. What is it? Basically it's a way for Google to assign authors to content on the web. You know how when you see a print column in a newspaper or magazine (for those of you born after 1995, a print column is kind of like a blog post but on paper), the author has a byline and sometimes a picture immediately after the title of the piece? Well Google seeks to do a similar thing in their search results, through Google Authorship. When you come across a Google verified author, the search result should look something like this:

According to several sources, search results with the author's photo attached are clicked on anywhere between 15-20 percent more than unauthored results.

Another benefit to Google Authorship is that with it, Google recognizes you as the owner of your content. That makes it harder for people to plagiarize from your site.

Sounds great, right? There's just one tiny downside--setting up Google Authorship is a bit of a PROCESS. Read: pain in the buttocks.

Now, there are tons of directions on how to do this. I recommend looking at this flow chart, which has the most cogent explanation of setting up Google Authorship I've come across so far, although the links aren't live and several of the URLs are dead. But the bigger point is, see how long that flow chart is? YEAH. Say goodbye to your afternoon.

Here are the basics:
  1. You need to set up a Google + profile with links to your blogs and a picture and the whole deal. Google REALLY wants you on G+.
  2. Once that's done, if you have an e-mail address with the same domain as the site you write for (e.g.,, all you have to do is register your e-mail addy with Google. Done!
  3. For the rest of us mere mortals, UHG. No. You have to get a code and embed it on the homepage of your blog. And possibly every post on said blog, I'm still not clear on that. But definitely the homepage. You can view the code on Higher Visibility.
  4. Think you're done? Not really. Now you have to test to make sure everything's working on the Rich Snippets Testing Tool.
  5. Then wait a few weeks and hopefully your picture will show up. If not, you must pray to the Google Help Forum gods for guidance.
  6. Oh, this is just for Blogger sites, by the way. If you have a blog on another platform like WordPress it's completely different.
So, as you can see, Google Authorship is a bit of a time and sanity investment. But I think it is worth it in the end.

Have questions or tips about Google Authorship? Feel free to ask in the comments!


  1. Wow, this is such a process! I've done the first 2 steps. Now I need to do the rest. I better block out an afternoon to do this, huh? Thanks for the instructions!

    Also your "if you were born after 1995" comment made me laugh for like 30 seconds.

  2. I already had a link from my blog to my Google+ page (not my personal G+ page, although they are linked). Added ?rel=author to the end of the link (no space, just tacked it on) that already appeared on my blog and the Rich Snippets Testing Tool picked it up and verified authorship right away. Easy peasy!

  3. I was so glad that I got this figured out finally, all thanks to you!!

    BTW, love that you explained what a print column is!! That made my day!! :)

  4. Thanks that was massive process. I found though I needed to activate google+ on the blogger back end (where you go to do your posts there is a link down the side saying google +). When I activated that it seemed to work.

  5. You lost me at Google+ -- I jumped ship from that almost immediately. There are issues about privacy and copyright that I didn't like.

    1. Beth F. ... I'm curious about the issues you had with privacy and copyright. Would you mind sharing more info? (I want to make sure I'm not missing something!!)


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