View Twitter chat schedule: #SMTLive

How to Set Up Google Authorship

how to set up google authorshipThe question of how to set up Google Authorship - and why it is so important right now - is one that is probably circulating in the mind of many online marketers and webmasters who have not yet done so.

It's a process that can appear complicated at first, but actually consists of several fairly simple steps, so here are the different methods, depending on how many authors your website has.

First, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Do I have one author, or several?
  2. Do authors have their own 'about the author' page on my website?

One author, no 'about me' page

If you are the only author contributing to your website or blog, and you do not have a page about you on the site, Google Authorship is easy to set up.

Within the <head> section of your website's page template, add the following piece of code:

                <link href='' rel='author'/>

Substitute your own Google+ profile URL into the 'href' attribute - or change the long number to match your Google+ profile ID.

Depending on how your website template works, you may wish to change the single quote marks for double quote marks, or omit the forward-slash from near the end of the code.

Several authors, no 'about me' pages

If you have several contributors, you can't use the header code option; instead, on each posted article, you'll need to include a linked byline naming the author.

You can do this within your site template, or by manually pasting a byline at the top or bottom of the article text; it doesn't matter either way, as long as the name is linked to the author's Google+ profile.

The code is broadly the same, but rather than appearing as a 'link' element in your page header, it appears as a visible 'a' element, or hyperlink, on your article page:

                <a href="" rel="author">Author Name</a>

Again, substitute the appropriate Google+ profile ID for the long number in the link URL, and make sure to include the 'rel="author"' parameter to highlight that this is the author's name.

Several authors with 'about me' pages

If individual authors have their own profile on your website, you should link their bylines to their profile instead of to their Google+ account.

Use the same notation as above, but change the 'href' attribute to point to the 'about the author' page:

     <a href="" rel="author">Author Name</a>

From the individual author's 'about' page, you should then add a link to their Google+ profile, this time adding 'rel="me"' where you would normally add 'rel="author"'.

    <a href="" rel="me">Find Author Name on Google+</a>

This is the most complicated method, but also the most powerful, as it allows multiple authors, all with their own profiles on your site, as well as on Google+.

You can also use this method if you are the only contributor to your website or blog, but still want to link to a profile page you have direct control over.

Reciprocal linking

Whichever method you use, you must then link back to your website from your Google+ profile, by adding a text link to your website or blog homepage in the 'Contributor to' section of your Google+ profile.

This verifies to Google+ that the owner of the profile is the same person as is trying to claim that the article was written by them - preventing other people from putting your name on items you did not write.

Reciprocal linking should be the easiest part of the process, but make sure you remember to do it, and ask any other contributors to your site to add the link to their profiles too.

Test it

Once Google Authorship is set up, test that it is working correctly using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool ( - this will help you to identify any problems with the way you have set up the code on your page.

Even if the testing tool says everything is set up and working fine, there are still certain circumstances that can prevent your page from appearing in the search results with the individual author's name and profile picture alongside it.

Make sure your Google+ profile picture is a clear, passport-style head-and-shoulders shot with all of your main facial features within the frame.

And finally, be patient. It can take several weeks for your Authorship information to begin appearing in search results, so don't worry if it is taking some time - just keep publishing good-quality articles in the meantime.

Why should I set up Google Authorship?

If 'because Google said so' isn't a persuasive enough argument for you to alter your website's setup, then there are plenty of other reasons why Authorship might be a wise addition to your page template.

Firstly, it makes it easier for people in your Google+ Circles to see which sites or blogs you contribute to, bringing in another stream of potential readers.

Secondly, it helps your pages to stand out in search result pages, as your profile pic will begin to appear alongside them, helping to attract the gaze of the individual search user.

Thirdly, there is good reason to believe that Google will ultimately give better rankings to pages with Authorship information added to them, as it helps to identify that page as having been created by a legitimate web writer.

Finally, it's not an irreversible process - if you decide it is not working for you, you can always remove Authorship information later on, and have your appearance in the search results return to its previous form.

However, there's a certain likelihood that early adopters of this method will build up a greater amount of Authorship value over time than those who link their profiles later on.

With that in mind, even if you change your mind later, there's a compelling argument for setting up Google Authorship as soon as possible, so that you can begin to decide whether it has a positive impact on your website traffic and search rankings.

(Setting up Google Authorship / shutterstock)

Join The Conversation

  • Jack Wong's picture
    Dec 27 Posted 3 years ago Jack Wong

    What happen if 2 authors linked to a same content? Because I have some old content linked to my old profile which I have lost the password, now I added a new author link under another Google+ profile under Contribute link. Will this conflict?

  • Oct 31 Posted 3 years ago Susan Marshall

    I have tried to set up google authorship for months and can't seem to get it to work. When I use the google tool to check it says it's set up correctly but it still isn't showing up. Here are my results: If you have a moment to check can you please look and provide feedback? Thanks, Susan

  • Sep 11 Posted 3 years ago eemes

    HI Rob,

    I am very happy that i got this great info about Google authorship.

    Now here is my research and my story. 

    I was fedup with the authorship actually becz it took me 5 hours to figure out. I will tell you what exactly the problem that i faced. And the best thing is that i got the solution from your site. I am going to follow you back and m really really happy that at last i got my answer on this blog very honestly.

    I read Google support and some videos to check how to setup google authorship, but the problem was i tried checking with the Structured Data Testing Tool but i always saw that my authorship is not being established. I tried for several hours damn.The time it took becz first i had been working on my spain client for 2 hours, then i tried and tried with the blog to configure here and there but still it was not working.

    Then then other 3 hours i was working on my own blog and website to check why the hell its not working. I check videos and some blogs all were telling the same stuff.

    I even changed my username via a plugin, then i changed my nickname etc - But still its getting failed!

    Damn i was so angry but i decided not to leave but to do more research. And thankfully i came to your website, i felt there was something different in the code which Google has given and which you have given. Now that was the key. After 5 hours of work and research i put the code which you had in ur post.

    And Whola!!!!!!!!  I got my authorship accepted

    Where is the problem then ? 

    This  google support site

    Now when you got to the 2nd option to get verified, Google have mentioned the code as under

    <a href="

    Becz of this code i was damn not able to verfiy, see the difference in the code.
    I used your code in the post which you have mentioned, and it worked both in my site and in my blog.

    So i would point out plz ask Google to change this code and use ur code, becz google's code made me waste my 5 hours. Had i got your blog first i would have achieved it much earlier!

    Thank a lot i am going comgin to you blog for the wonderfull information you have given.

    Your Site ROCKS MAN!!!!!!

  • AaronKocourek's picture
    Aug 5 Posted 3 years ago AaronKocourek

    If you want to jump start your authorship profile go back to all the articles posted by/about you over the past year and have the site link the article to your Google+ profile. This can be a great way to increase your author rank right off the bat.

  • Aug 1 Posted 3 years ago bigorange

    not sure on drupal but its a cinch in WP- there are numerous highly effective free plugins to do it for you.

    I believe the one we use is called google-author-information-in-search-results


    Got my picture in the organics in a few days, which means you know its working

  • Debbie Dapson's picture
    Jul 31 Posted 3 years ago Debbie Dapson

    How would I do this for a CMS site? WordPress or Drupal?



Webinars On Demand

  • May 09, 2017
    With all of the technologies available to marketers today, have we lost that personal touch? Join VP of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark Bornste...
  • April 05, 2017
    In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, operational efficiency, quick turn-around times, testing and adapting to change are crucial to...