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Are You Using Google Authorship Correctly?

Written by Taylor Hawes

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

If you’ve ever conducted a Google search and seen results that appear with the author’s picture and byline attached (as shown below), you’ve seen the results of Google authorship:


Essentially, this feature – which launched at the end of 2011 – allows writers to “claim” their content with Google through the use of their Google+ profiles.  The results of these marked-up search results listings are higher click-through rates, greater perceived authority and increased website traffic – making it highly advantageous for website authors to set up authorship correctly.

Because the guidelines for doing so have changed over the past few years, the following steps will give you the most up-to-date process for setting up Google authorship on your own site:


Step #1 – Set up your Google+ profile

The first thing you’ll need to do to take advantage of Google’s authorship features is to create a personal Google+ profile.

If you don’t already have a Google Account, start by navigating to to complete your registration.  If you have an existing Account, head to and log in with your Google credentials.

Once inside, you’ll see a number of different options for creating your personal profile and adding your friends and contacts to your Google Circles.  Take a second to add a headshot picture to your profile, as the authorship system will pull this image to display alongside your marked up results in the search listings.

Go ahead and grab your Google+ profile URL as well while you’re at this stage, as we’ll be using it later on in the process.  Your URL should look something like this:


Step #2 – Add your website to the “Contributor to” tab

Next, click on the “Profile” tab in the far left-hand menu.  Select the “About” tab from your profile page and scroll down until you see the section labeled “Links.”  Click “Edit” in order to open the Links window and look for the link labeled “Add custom link” under the “Contributor to” section:


Add the title of your blog and its URL into the fields that appear.  Click “Save” and then close out of your Google+ profile.


Step #3 – Add your Google+ profile URL to the Yoast SEO plugin

Once you’ve set things up on the Google+ side, you need to finish making the connection by adding your Google+ profile code to your website.  This allows Google and your site to work together and identify any instances of content you’ve published online.

The easiest way to do this is to install the Yoast SEO plugin to your website.

After the plugin has been installed and activated, open up the “Users” panel within your WordPress dashboard and locate your profile.  Click to edit it and then paste your Google+ profile URL into the field labeled “Google+”:


In addition to adding this code, you’ll want to be sure that every post on your website includes a byline featuring the same name that’s displayed on your Google+ profile.  As an example, if your Google+ profile uses the name “Mike Smith,” add the byline “By Mike Smith” to all of your website posts by hand, using an author box plugin or by coding this information into your site’s theme.


Step #4 – Confirm your authorship setup using the Rich Snippets Testing Tool

Congratulations!  At this point, your Google authorship should be set up correctly (unless you’ve chosen to use Google’s alternate instructions for confirming content ownership via email).

However, to be sure that you’ve completed the process correctly, head over to Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool.  Enter a URL from a post you’ve recently published and take a look at the snippet preview that appears.  If it includes your image, you’re good to go!  If not, work back through the steps listed above until you’re able to troubleshoot the issue that’s preventing your site’s authorship from triggering correctly.


Step #5 – Add authorship markup to guest posts

All of the steps above will ensure that your content is correctly attributed using Google’s authorship system when you’re posting on your own site – but what if you provide a guest post for another blog?  Odds are, you still want to receive authorship markup for these posts in the Google results, even if you can’t log in to the hosting site’s WordPress back end to add your profile URL.

In these cases, you still have one option…  As long as the site’s owner allows you to add an author box or bio to your post, simply add your Google+ profile URL code with the “rel=author” tag appended to the end like so:

Then, add the site that’s hosting your article to your list of “Contributed to” websites within your Google+ profile and your authorship markup should come through correctly.

Though the process might seem complicated, it only takes a few minutes to setup Google authorship correctly.  Take the time to do it today and start reaping the rewards of marked up snippets in the search results!


UPDATE: please see our follow-up post regarding Google Authorship, or rather the death of Google Authorship.

Posted in

Web and Hosting Tips

20 Responses to Are You Using Google Authorship Correctly?

  1. avatar33 says:

    Great article. Authorship is definitely an important aspect of blogging. I’ve found another extensive article about Authorship and Google+ for businesses here:

  2. GoPanthers says:

    Can Google+ Authorship be used by Google+ Pages? As in the organization is the author?

  3. Gerald Weber says:

    I am sure Google is going to be using Authorship and Author Rank along with “social signals” in order to filter out the REAL or “quality” blog posts from the low quality crap.

    That being said the importance of authorship for the future can’t be understated, as it is the future.

  4. Kimberly Fujioka says:

    What is the Yoast SEO plugin?

  5. Kimberly Fujioka says:

    Especially the Yost Plugin

  6. Helge Sverre Hessevik Liseth says:

    I believe i have managed to set it up correctly, if you Google my name: “Helge Sverre” i should be on the top with my Profile Picture on the side :D

    Tell me if it works for you!

  7. Dave Luwemba says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I really did not know why some features showed when I was searching using Google or the other search engines. The underlines, the pictures, they all make some sense now. Well like you say, the process is pretty involved, or complicated, but the rewords are worth the process. I think I will give it a shot.

    Thanks again,

    Dave Luwemba

  8. عبدالمحسن العنزي says:
  9. HostGator says:

    Not at all. But it can help you to identify trusted authors and to know that content is legitimate and not copied, plagiarized or stolen from another site.

    • HostGator says:

      It’s definitely the choice of the writer whether or not to participate, so the accountability is on the individual. But we agree, most people aren’t looking for a face over the actual content of a given blog post.

  10. Nicholas Stickle says:

    Thank you very much for posting this and tweeting about it. If I hadnt gone back over this article you posted I would have gone on oblivious to the fact that my authorship was not set up correctly.

  11. Stephanie says:

    This is by far the best walk-through guide for setting up google authorship – thanks again Host Gator for the BEST info!

  12. Nick says:

    Yoast does have several import functions to import f.e. All in one SEO settings. (Backup before testing, as usuall. Never had problems though)

  13. Trisha Agarwal says:

    I managed to get my google+ pic showing up next to my website in google search results only three weeks after I set it up. Things were going well, but a few days after I changed the look of my website’s footer, and in so doing moved the link to my google+ page into an html table for layout reasons, the picture no longer shows up next to my site in google search results. Has the moving of my google+ link in my footer harmed my authorship markup? Or do I have to wait a bit for Google to realise that I have not deleted the link but just moved it? my website is


  14. Alok says:

    Sir I have done all steps Correctly
    Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool its shows my image
    And Write Authorship is working thwn tell me sir whhy my image is not shown on google search

  15. Spook SEO says:

    I get the Google authorship and register my website. Google Authorship powers my site and the ratio of traffic is increasing. The features that you are talking about the Google Authorship are unfamiliar to me. I will surely follow these steps and modify it.

  16. Karan Rawat says:

    lolz! they don’t know what they exactly talking about!
    only thing they know is to comment! comment and comment!