How to markup your content for Google authorship

feature-google-vision-200Google’s trend towards authorship allows creators of web content a new way to stand out in search engine results.

This concept gives creators of valid, informative content a way to express their authority on a given topic, with that information appearing at the beginning of search results, accompanied by the author’s name and photograph.

The number of businesses competing for attention on web searches has oversaturated the market, creating a need for initiatives like Google authorship to allow them to increase their visibility.

For businesses, this concept provides opportunities for greater exposure and traffic to their websites. Not only does this strategy enhance the ability for businesses to rank higher in search engines but research into our clients’ results of authorship also demonstrates that this will help increase click-through rates by 31% to 152% or more. Over time, you’ll be establishing authority online in Google’s eyes and be rewarded with increased search engine exposure and the traffic that comes with it.

While Google’s algorithms have always been a mystery, Google has admitted to having an increasing interest in ensuring the content that ranks well in search results is valid. This authorship model allows authors to validate that content by providing a byline that links to a legitimate biography, and increases the likelihood of being deemed as a reputable known source.

This byline doesn’t happen automatically, however. Special markup has to be done to your content to get Google authorship to work. This is the part that has left many web developers confused. Successful authorship participants have been able to not only get their name listed as author but also include a picture next to a search result.

Why use Google authorship? There are several benefits, including a person’s ability to easily find other content you’ve created. Experts are also assuming that Google authorship will boost your search rankings but, more importantly, your search listings will stand out, especially if you can attach a photograph to them.

The big question is how does someone add author information to a page? All of the previous information on this subject has simply referred to modifying a site’s code, but many content owners need a little more of the “big picture” to get to that point. So what follows are a few steps that can help you understand how the process works.

What you will need

Before you can participate in Google authorship, you’ll have to set up your content to let Google know yours is a trusted site.

This involves having two things—a Google identity, such as a Google+ profile, that is connected with your content somehow.

The second thing you’ll need before setting your site up for Google authorship is your name as the author, linking back to your Google+ profile.

There are three ways to set this up so that Google recognises your site as a trusted source. Those three methods are outlined by Google as:

  • The Three-Link Method: This type of authentication sets up reciprocal links between your Google+ profile page and your author biography page, as outlined in the diagram below. A link to your author biography page is also posted on your content page. Basically this means both the page where your content is posted and your Google+ profile page will link to your author biography page, with both your biography page and content page hosted on the same domain. Your author biography page should also include a link to your Google+ page to cover you. The relationship looks like this:


  • The Two-Link Method: If you’d prefer to keep the author biography page out of it, this method might be your choice. To avoid having a separate author biography page, you’ll simply need to have a mini-biography at the bottom of each piece of content you post. In the mini-biography, you’ll simply need to include a link to your Google+ profile page. A link to the main page of your blog or website should also be posted on your Google+ profile. Below is an illustration of the relationship, as well as an example of the Google+ link on one of my author biographies:


  • Email verification: Sometimes content creators do not have control over a site’s design. In those cases, the content creator can simply provide an email link that matches the email address on that person’s Google+ profile. Email verification can be used for a variety of reasons, even by choice. The email address must have the same domain hosting name as the content (i.e. That email address must have already been verified through Google+, as well. Below is a diagram that illustrates how this linkup should look:


Once you have your links set up, you’ll have to prepare your Google+ membership for authorship. If you don’t yet have a Google+ profile, you probably have a username and password if you’ve used any of Google’s products (Gmail, Blogger, etc).

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