Nice post. Why do you include the extra rel="author" at the end of the code? Google says it is not needed and in testing both seem to work.
How To Setup Google Authorship for Guest Posts
Hopefully by now you’ve heard about Google Authorship and what it is. If not, here’s a brief overview.
Authorship is the means by which you claim authorship over an individual blog post or pages you wrote on the internet. Until now, Google could read your name as being associated with a blog post, but there may be hundreds of potential people who have the same name as you. How can Google be sure that YOU were the author of that post?
Enter Google Authorship. With a few simple steps you can connect your Google+ profile with specific blog posts – whether on your blog or not! Before we get into the specific of HOW to set up authorship, it’s important to point out what Authorship is. And what it is NOT.
What is Google Authorship?
As I mentioned, it is the expressed, validated connection between a specific person (represented by their Google+ profile) and a piece of content.
What does Authorship do?
When the authorship connection is made, and when Google decides to show the authorship expression in the search results, your Google+ profile image will appear next to the search result. There will be additional links to dig deeper into your profile information, such as this screen shot from my friend Andy Crestodina’s blog post about Authorship.
The presumed value of authorship markup today is that you will see an increased click through rate on your search result as compared to others that do not have authorship markup present. There’s also the slight chance that a user might dig deeper into your profile or additional content from with the search result. Personally, I don’t think that’s too likely, as searchers are searching for answers to questions. Finding your profile was not top of mind when running that search.
That’s it. As of today that’s the value.
What about Author Rank?
The concept of Author Rank is a future state where the influence of an individual author will be accounted for when determining how a specific piece of content ranks within search results. Executing the authorship markup is an important step to take now, so you will be ready for the day when Author Rank becomes a reality – but it’s important to note that Author Rank is not here yet. To date, I have yet to see any credible report that Author Rank is live today. It’s a gleam in Google’s eye.
The importance of Guest Posts
Despite all the histrionics around new ranking factors in the algorithm, quality inbound links remains one of (and probably THE) most important ranking factor. Writing guest posts for trusted authority sites in your specific vertical is a powerful way to build inbound links to your site. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to build links. It’s hard work, but the results are well worth the effort.
How to Setup Authorship for Guest Posts
Did you know that you can implement the Google Authorship markup for all your guest posts and not just the content on sites you control? Here’s the simple step by step process.
Step 1. Setup a Google+ profile if you have not yet done so.
A Google+ profile is a prerequisite for Authorship markup. This is how Google knows you are, in fact you, and not someone else with the same name.
Step 2. Link to your Google+ profile from your Guest Posts using rel=”author” tag.
Most blogs that accept guest posts will do one of two different things to show you as the author. They will either create a blogging account for you inside their CMS, or they will include your bio as guest author at the top or bottom of the individual post. Hopefully, if the blog creates an account for you they are also using a plug in to show your bio associated with the post (my personal favorite is WP About Author). If not, you’ll have to specifically request that they include the bio with the post. Your bio needs to link to your Google+ profile using the following HTML link structure:
<a title=”Author: Erin Feldman on Google+” href=”https://plus.google.com/113009267381530816581?rel=author” rel=”author“>Google+</a>
The bolded sections are the important park – the TWO sections that say rel=author and rel=”author”. Just copy and paste the above text and replace Erin Feldman’s Google+ account number with your own, and swap her name for yours at the beginning of the text. Here’s an image to explain a bit more graphically what’s going on – this is taken from Erin’s recent guest post on this blog.
Step 3. Link to the blog from Contributor section of your Google+ Profile
Now that you have the Google Authorship markup language in your bio on the guest post, we have to complete the connection. This is a simple process. Go to your Google+ profile and edit the contributor section to include the url of the blog where the guest post is being published.
Step 4. Verify the connection with Google Rich Snippets testing tool.
Now that the markup is present on your guest post bio and you’ve completed the cycle by connecting your contributor section to the blog that is publishing your guest post, you should test to ensure everything was done correctly. Navigate your browser to the Google Rich Snippets testing tool and input the url of your guest post (obviously, you’ll have to wait until it’s been published first.) The tool will tell you whether authorship markup is present.
If you’re having problems validating with the rich snippet tool, or instead trying to validate by running a search and looking for the image in search results, consider the following:
- Authorship cannot be connected to a Google+ business page. Businesses are not authors. People are authors.
- Authorship requires a clear head shot image of a person in your Google+ profile. Google will not display an image that is anything other than a head shot. Again, authorship is people-centric, not business-centric or logo-centric.
- If checking a search result and not seeing Authorship present, but it’s been validated in step 4 above, don’t fret. Google decides if/when to show. It’s not a permanent thing, but rather contextual.
- You will only personally ever have one authorship listing per search results page. Don’t run a search for you name and wonder why all listing you have authorship connected for aren’t showing images.
One Final Caveat: Be careful who you write for
It’s important to select your target blogs with care. As with any endeavor on the internet, the blog you select to write for is a partner of sorts and its important to deal with reputable sites and blogs. You should find a blog owner who will go the extra mile to ensure you have authorship markup setup properly for you. They should be vested in your success because your success is equivalent to their success.
I realize this sounds like a bit of a no-brainer, but you do need to be careful.
I’ll point out an example of what can happen, if you’re not careful. About a year and a half ago, I co-founded a group blog that did pretty well on the web. Not long after starting the project, I walked away from the site and relinquished any ownership interest.
This was long before Google authorship was important. In an effort to ensure everything was marked up properly on that site, I logged in and adjusted my bio to include all the proper markup, to update my social media links and to adjust my bio.
When I checked recently, someone from the site had logged in, stripped all markup and social media links and changed my password to ensure I could not add it back in.
Again, it goes without saying, but be careful out there. Select your guest blog targets carefully.
I wish you the very best of luck with setting up your authorship as you gallivant across your corner of the web creating awesome content for others.
What’s been your experience with authorship on your own blog and on guest posts? I continue to hear about a lot of confusion relating to authorship. What about you?
Featured image via creative commons on flickr courtesy of mdanys.
Sean, great article. My main question has been answered, as I was wondering about the value of multiple authorship profiles for a company blog. I found the site MyGuestBlog to be really beneficial in facilitating links, as I've implemented this on my company blog for EvolveOnlineMarketing.com
Hi Sean, what about writing an article on a Google+ business page instead of let's say a wordpress blog? Can The authorship be linked to a person/Google+ profile?
Having trouble getting this to work.
Its fine with our main site but for our blog ie same domain /blog doesnt work.
Pretty sure its the wordpress twenty eleven theme.
We have multiple authors on the site and there are plugins but they seem very complicated.
So I just want to be able to paste the code into the end of each post.
Any ideas please?
I just followed these steps and successfully connected authorship of my blog. Great step by step tutorial. Thanks for that Sean.
What if you are not allowed to link your Google+ page in a guest/contributing post? Not every blog/site out there does this. I don't think Google expects them to. Is it possible to just add HTML to a post that is unseen visually, but adds authorship in the backend?
This is exactly what I've been looking for. I'm not into technical stuff but I'll try the installation and troubleshooting tips here.
Tx for the info.
I still dont understand why do you need to write rel author twice? what's the difference?
Thank you for sharing post about google authorship. I just one question, how to connect the google page profile as the authorship on the blog and show in the search engine. Thank you
Great post. But I'd like to comment on the latter part which I missed on my first read. It's a bad idea for blogs to strip authorship from guest posts. By stripping the links they reduce the chance that a link to their OWN website gets clicked. Secondly, I agree with your warning and I think all those who blog should negotiate the terms of the publishing. It can be done gracefully, by highlighting the benefits of properly doing attribution, usage of images, meta tags and authorship links. After all, if they listen to you, they improve the SEO of their OWN website. So yes, choose carefully, or be a tough yet graceful negotiator ;)
Thanks so much Sean. You have been a huge help! I will definitely get in touch directly - it will be amazing if I can connect my bylined published content on other people's sites with my Google Authorship. Thanks again for the great article.
Hi! Thanks for this. I am a freelance journalist and I am frequently published in the websites of traditional media (newspapers, magazines etc). I suspect it will be a struggle to get these publishers to follow these steps that would allow me to link these articles to my Google Authorsip. In this example, is there any other way I could try? Otherwise it seems Google Authorship seems most beneficial to staff journalists and bloggers. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks. Anna
Great advice to make sure guest authors get Google Authorship. It is one the incentives that rewards the author - and the blog owner benefits from the additional traffic. I always encourage people who are looking for blogs to guest post on, to check to make sure they are getting authorship before they send the request.
On my blog I have the Authorship feature built in with the Thesis Awesome blogskin I use. But there are some really light-weight plugins that bloggers can use so they don't have to worry about code. One good plugin is called Better Author Bio Box.
When I email guest authors to tell them that their post is live, I will also remind them to add their author link to the Google + profile. I get a lot more traffic from posts when the Authorship shows up!
Thanks for putting the word out and providing the detailed instructions.
This is a really helpful post, Sean. I was pretty ignorant to all of this. I appreciate your insight.
@jonniejensen The extra rel="author" at the end of the string (the separate one) is the code used for html 5 sites. The in-line version is for html 4 sites. I included both so as not to confuse the issue for non-technical readers who may have been trying to implement.
@ianpiepenbrock I honestly have no idea if that's been tested Ian. My guess would be no, but it's a total guess.
@Danny Smith Danny, if you follow the steps laid out above then you shouldn't have any trouble. You can manually place those links at the bottom of the guest blog posts, or do so within any one of a number of author plug-ins.
If you add them manually at the bottom of the post just be sure you are viewing the post via the "Text" tab and NOT the "Visual" tab at the post editor page. Then include the code I listed in step 2 above, swap out your author's Google+ profile # for the number that is in the orange section I color coded and swap out Erin's name for the name of your author and it should work like a charm.
You'll still need to ensure they have added your blog URL in their Google+ contributor section to connect the link back.
If you'd like, you can leave a URL (in these comments) to a blog post that you have tried it and I will be happy to take a look and trouble shoot for you.
Not that I'm aware of, no. The link back to your Google+ post is critical. You can probably try to do so in a more unobtrusive manner, but the link must be there.
Hope it helps Lisa. Please loop back and let us know how it went (and also let us know if you have any problems. Maybe we can help diagnose the problem for you).
@stevesianrach You'll need to follow the steps outlines above..
@colinbradleyjones Glad to be of help Colin. (Also glad you found the post!)
@seogroup Awesome Marvin! So glad you found it. Hope to see you again in person one of these days. It's been far too long since we've been in the same room together. :)
@anidor Good morning adidor! One of them is for HTML 5. By setting it up that way, I'm trying to future proof the rel=author connection.
@hairblogtips Did you follow the 4 steps as outlined above?
@manamica We all make mistakes, Mana. I found one here on 312 Digital just this afternoon - where Dave Rohrer's guest post from last month didn't have authorship set up correctly. I went in and fixed it today. As a conscientious publisher I'm going to have to pay close attention and make sure its part of my process before publishing.
Great point about it being a stupid move to strip out the authorship markup, to say nothing of the other links. I wasn't even thinking about the links back to this and other sites, but they pulled those down too. Stupid. Nobody will want to guest post when the value of doing so goes away.
@Journo You're welcome. Anytime. I look forward to connecting.
@nathanhein Thanks Nathan. I genuinely appreciate your feedback.
@JournoHi Anna. Yes, its the same process, but a manual request instead of using a plugin. Do those mainstream publishers credit you as the author of the piece? If so, you can probably just include a link within your bio that would include the proper markup, Send it over with as HTML and ask them to include it as is. If you need help with configuring that properly, just reach out via email (sean at 312digital dot com) and I'll be happy to help.
@Ileane Thanks for the tips about Thesis and Better Author Box. I'll check it out to see if it does all the things I like about WP About Author. If it does, I might be switching! Thanks again!
@profkrg Thanks Kenna! So glad you found this post. Hope it proves useful to you as you go about your guest posting routine.
Great writers like you need to be able to claim authorship in Google's system, and this is the easiest way I've found to ensure that happens correctly.
@stevesianrach @Sean McGinnis Steve - the process is detailed in the post above. The specific code will need to be changed to include the url of your specific Google+ profile. That code is in step 2 above, but must be modified. If you follow the steps above and the publishers include the modified code in step 2 then authorship should work fine.
It's a very similar process to implementing it on your blog, but as a guest poster you typically have less control over how/where to include the markup language.
When I set it up for me on this blog, it's a one time thing. I make sure I manually include that markup language in each bio I send over to publishers when I submit guest posts.