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WordPress SEO: The Easy Way to Set Up Google Authorship
Posted on November 19th 2013
A few months ago Google clarified its guidelines on how to properly apply Google Authorship on blogs. The new guidelines made it clear many blogs had authorship set up incorrectly so I put together this post to help WordPress users configure authorship properly using the WordPress SEO plugin.
Unlike my other tutorial on WordPress authorship, this solution is more bullet-proof since you are using a plugin instead of editing the theme itself.
There are other plugins that can handle authorship for you, but many have not been updated to the new guidelines. Also, for performance reasons you should always use as few plugins as possible so using WordPress SEO for SEO and authorship makes more sense than using separate plugins.
First things first!
Make sure you have the plugin installed and also have a personal Google+ Profile page and/or if you are a business a Google+ Business page. In addition, you must also link from your profile and/or business page to your blog in order for any of this to work. You can read about how to do that for personal Google+ profiles here, and for Google+ Business pages here.
Now that we have that taken care of let's get into the good stuff!
I'll start with how to configure WordPress SEO for a single author blog since all blogs need those settings and then I'll finish up with the specifics for businesses and multi-author blogs, both of which have specific configuration options.
Step 1 - Enter your personal Google+ Profile URL into your user profile in WordPress
This is done by selecting 'Users' in the left navigation within WordPress, then select yourself from the 'Users' table. You should now be on your user profile page as shown above. From here all you have to do is locate the Google+ form field and enter your Google+ profile URL. If you don't know what your Google+ URL is, it should look like this:
Step 2 - Optionally Add Google Authorship to your blog home page
In this step you want to stop and consider if your home page is a page that should be set up with authorship. Google recently clarified this in a way that I believe means most blogs should not have authorship on the home page, but I'll leave that up to you to decide. Here's what they said specifically -
The URL/page contains a single article or single piece of content, by the same author. This means that the page isn’t a list of articles or an updating feed.
If you decide to add Google Authorship to your home page all you have to do is select your username from the 'Author for homepage' dropdown menu and click the 'Save Settings' button.
Step 3 - Choose The Post Types That You'd Like To Have Authorship
In this step you should select the post types where Google Authorship should not appear. If you scroll down on the Post Types page you'll see the three options are Posts, Pages, and Media.
This is also important to get right so you adhere to Google's guidelines - you don't want to have authorship on pages they don't view as written by an author (contact pages, privacy statements, etc).
What you should choose here depends on your blog configuration but most blogs would want to have authorship on posts only since WordPress pages are generally used for 'site' type pages. If you know that you have a lot of articles posted as WordPress pages you should then also allow the pages to have Google Authorship.
I haven't seen many blogs using media pages, or if those pages should really use Google Authorship based on the new guidelines (they aren't written by an author), so most blogs should set authorship to not be shown on media pages.
If you are running a single author blog, that's it! You should be ready to test your configuration now.
Google Authorship For Multi-Author WordPress Blogs
If you are running a multi-author blog and would like to allow your authors to also get Google+ author attribution all you have to do (after following the steps for single author blog above) is have them add their own Google+ profile URL to their WordPress profile page.
Google Authorship For Google+ Business Pages
If you have a Google+ business page you should follow all the steps above for a single (or multi) author blog and then also add your Google+ business page URL to your blog home page. You do that by entering your business page URL into the 'Google Publisher Page' field shown in the above image.
Note that you should ensure that your authors, including the admin, should still use their personal Google+ profile URLs on their WordPress profile pages, the business page URL only belongs on the home page.
Checking Your Work
Once you've followed the steps correctly, it's time to check your work.
The easiest way is to use Google's structured data testing tool. You'll want to check the appropriate pages of your site to see if the author code is there when it should be (posts, or posts and pages depending on your implementation) and not where it shouldn't be (like your home page or archive pages). To do so just enter the appropriate URLs from your site into the testing tool and review the results.
If you have any issues just ask me here the comments, or over on Google+, and I'll do my best to help you.