Google Plus Authorship enables writers, authors, bloggers and even guest bloggers to digitally claim their online content. It also makes Google search engine results appear with ones profile image next to the web page or article. Linking your online content to a personal Google Plus account will help increase your credibility and will likely boost your search engine rankings as well. Clicks to search results that have an author thumbnail will undoubtedly generate higher click through rates which will in turn influence search engine rankings. Matt McGee, Editor in Chief of Search Engine Land, described one of the hidden benefits of Google Authorship as increased links that appear when a Google Author verified site is visited. Since the process to setup Google Plus Authorship is relatively simple and cost neutral it is definitely a recommended and worthy exercise for businesses taking their SEO strategy to the next level.
Step 1: Create a Google + Personal Account if you don’t already have one. This is different than a Google + Local page which appears on Google Maps.
Step 2: Add a link to the blog and/or website you author in the ‘About’ section of your Google + Personal profile. Add the sites in the Links > ‘Contributor To’ section. Link to the “about me” section of the linked blog/website. If you don’t have an “about me” page make one! Or, at a minimum link to an article or web page where your bio, profile photo and contact information appears.
Step 3: In the bio section of the website or blog, create a link to your Google + Personal page using the following steps. For blogs, the bio section may be the “gravatar” profile which appears at the bottom of all posts:
- Create a text or image link to your Google+ profile from your webpage (in the html view):
- Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL. Be sure to remove the brackets  as well!
Text link example:
<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Visit my Google Plus profile</a>
Image link example:
<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author"><img src="http://yourwebsite.com/yourimage.jpg"></a>
- NOTE: Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.
Step 4: Test the setup using Google’s structured data testing tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets. Test with a link to one of the blog articles or pages where you added the Google Plus Author link.
Step 5: Be patient as Google connects your Google Plus Authorship profile to your pages. Google says it can take from a couple weeks to a couple months for Google to begin displaying your pages with the authorship icon. However, in my experience I have seen the Google authorship icon show up in as little as 3 days for some of my clients and my own authorship became live in a little over two weeks.
Step 6: Benefit from the increase visibility and exposure you will have from Google Authorship!
Google + Authorized content is easily recognizable in search engine results from the appearance of the profile image next to the search result link, e.g.
Google also sends out a one-time “Welcome to Google Authorship” notification email about a week after authorship has been established. Here is the email I received one week after my own authorship profile went live:
Check out other good articles on Google Authorship:
1. Google Confirms Hidden Benefit of Authorship
2. Ten Reasons You Should Claim Your Google Authorship
Browse my other articles on Search Engine Optimization.