How to Setup Google Plus Authorship for Better SEO

google authorship seoGoogle 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:

    1. Create a text or image link to your Google+ profile from your webpage (in the html view):
    2. 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=""></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: 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 authorship example

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:

google authorship confirmation email

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.

About Brian Loebig

Owner of, author of, and part-time Technology Manager for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, Brian has over 15 years of experience working in the quality improvement, human services and technology fields as an administrator and consultant. Brian has also worked as a practitioner and administrator in the corrections, substance abuse and human services fields with a special emphasis on technology. He continues to work with numerous community-based non-profits as a web technology consultant, board member and volunteer. Feel free to .
This entry was posted in How To..., SEO and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to How to Setup Google Plus Authorship for Better SEO

  1. BrianL says:

    Found a great article from a Google + Pro about the value of Google Plus Authorship today:

  2. Alicia Vaz says:

    Great post. In my attempt to implement, I got stuck at step 3. You mentioned, ” For blogs, the bio section may be the “gravatar” profile which appears at the bottom of all posts:” I’m familiar with gravatar but not sure what to do on my gravatar profile. Please advise.

    • BrianL says:

      Hi Alicia, if you look at my ‘gravatar’ profile you will see the Google + link where I end with “Feel free to connect with me on Google +.” That link uses the ?rel=author parameter that I describe in the blog.

  3. visit says:

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your website
    is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Alexis Stewart says:

    I learned alot from this post ! I can’t-wait to read more. However I wonder why you didn’t speak-about seo management software like IMBA Express or any of the other SEO Software?

    • Brian Loebig says:

      Thanks Alexis. What did you learn that was new? I didn’t talk about SEO software because this was a ‘how to’ article for setting up Google Authorship credentials. Perhaps you would like to guest post about your favorite SEO software? 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Philip Day Communications and commented:
    This month, Philip Day Communications features a guest blog titled: “How to Setup Google Plus Authorship for Better SEO” from Brian Loebig of Loebig Ink.

  6. shruti9896 says:

    Hi there,

    I am getting the same error messages as a few people who have posted but there is no answer to be found. These are the error messages:

    Warning: At least one field must be set for HatomEntry.
    Warning: Missing required field “entry-title”.
    Warning: Missing required field “updated”.
    Warning: Missing required hCard “author”

    Any advice or tips? 🙂

    My Website is

  7. Clicking Here says:

    hello!,I like your writing so much! we should share info and contact each other. I need an expert on this issue to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Having a look forward to speaking with you.

  8. Great article – I went to Google+ it and found no icon for that on your blog? 🙂

  9. AWatts says:

    Great article! Thank you! I will add the author href tag to my posts. Do I need to add the url of each individual blog post in my google plus account every time I post a new one?

    • Brian Loebig says:

      Hi Allison. Thanks for the feedback! If you author the blog that you have linked to your Google Plus account you don’t have to add every article, just link the root URL from Google Plus.

  10. Thanks for the article– I noticed you also have a blog. I have been trying to set up google plus authorship on my blog but I can’t figure out why it’s not working– I set this up back in early November (connected my google plus profile etc, it shows I am a contributor to my blog) but the testing tool shows it doesn’t work. I posted in the support forums but no one has answered me there either. Any ideas?

    • Brian Loebig says:

      Hi Kristin, I visited your blog and can’t see where you installed the Google Plus authorship code. Can you point it out to me?

      • Thank you so much for your help!
        Code? That doesn’t sound familiar and I don’t recall seeing code instructions in the support area on’s site. On my google plus page it lists me as a contributor to my blog– that’s not what you mean? I am very tech unsavvy so please excuse my utter ignorance here!

  11. Brian Loebig says:

    The code instructions are actually in this blog article that you are commenting on. See step three. It sounds like you need to add the authorship code to your blog. The best practice way to do it is to create a “Gravatar” profile that will connect to all your blog articles as a type of digital signature with a thumbnail pic of yourself. You can see it at the end of all my articles in this blog. You will also see the link to my Google Plus page which is where the ‘coding’ part of the directions come into play.

    • Thanks for your patience. I do have a google plus link at the end of each of my posts with my name/headshot. That’s why I was confused about needing code, I thought this was all I needed.
      I followed your instructions in this post and put the code on my about me page but that didn’t work– it said profile not found despite copying my google plus profile directly.

      So then I followed your comment instructions and went to my Gravatar profile (I already had one that clicks to my website). I went ahead and confirmed my website is linked and google plus is linked– both appear to be– is that sufficient? How do I get my Gravatar to appear at the bottom of my posts like yours do?

      • Brian Loebig says:

        It is not sufficient to just connect your Google Plus account, you have to add the “rel author” tag to the google plus profile link. To add the gravatar profile to your page go to Users > My Profile > add fill out the public profile info with a gravatar image, etc. I think that is what makes it appear below your posts?

  12. Brian, it worked, finally! Sorry to have taken up so much of your time and I really appreciate all your help. The code worked fine– I was entering the brackets [ ] along with my url thinking they were part of the code– when I removed them, it worked– I put it in the footer for now just to make sure it’s on every page (not sure if that is needed or not). Thanks so much, I look forward to following your excellent blog!

  13. Brian Loebig says:

    Fantastic Kristin! You’re welcome and thanks also for the feedback. I updated the steps in this blog by instructing people to remove the brackets from the code as well. 🙂

  14. Pingback: SEO Trends for 2014 | The Ink Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s