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How to Display Your Author Profile on Google Search Results

By Edited May 29, 2014 22 30

Implementing Author Rank on your online portfolio

Have you noticed how a few results on a Google search page have an author profile picture and byline displayed next to them? That is Google authorship at work. Your author profile on Google search results can get you more traffic and boost your Author Rank, which is a way for Google to rank authors based on quality of content and social interactions.


What is Google Authorship and Why Should You Use it?

Search Results Pages - Author Profile on Google Search Results
A large percentage of searchers click on the first result on the search page, but what if you can’t get to the first? How do you get a user to click on your link if it is buried in a boring page of results? You add something visually interesting. That means a profile picture and your byline. Not only do searchers notice your link, a few even think that the link must have more authority.

Authorship is a way for an author to tie his or her Google+ profile to pieces of web content. By claiming authorship of your best content, you can build a web identity and brand. If a reader finds one of your pieces through organic search and decides that he or she likes it, that reader may also click on your byline link to access more of your content.

There is also speculation that Google will eventually use this to weed out spammers and rank content based on Author Rank in conjunction with Page Rank. If this is true, and all signs point to it being so, then building your online credibility in Google's eyes is of utmost importance. 

If you're building an online business or creating content for multiple sites, this is also a good way to to interlink all your work for readers to find. 


How Does Google Authorship Work?

Author-Google Relationship - Author Profile on Google Search Results
Authorship centers around two simple HTML tags – rel=”author” and rel=”me”. They are used to create a circle of links from your pages of content to your Google+ profile and vice versa. The rel=”author” tag can be tacked on to any article or blog post that you create and have full rights to. You’ll also need an “About me” blog page or a “User profile” page on a web 2.0 site that has some information about you. You can then credit each page of content to your author page. Once that is done, you have to use the rel=”me” tag to link your author page to your Google profile. To close the loop, you enter all your author pages in the “About” section of your G+ profile. This lets Google authenticate authorship of all your content.

Of course, this means you have to have either an old Google profile or you’ll have to create a new Google+ profile. There is another bigger problem associated with claiming authorship. Google demands that you use your real name for your public Google profile. They officially say that they will let you use a penname if you really want to, but they will make you jump through hoops to prove that the penname really belongs to you! So yes, getting authorship means that you give up your right to online anonymity.


Steps to Claim Google Authorship

1.    If you’re doing this for your blog, add your byline somewhere on your content pages. Using this byline, link back to your “About me” page with the rel=”author” tag.

Eg. PhantomAuthor

If you own a Wordpress website and you have a credit line on each of your posts, add the tag there. To do it for individual posts, do it through your dashboard.

If you’re working on Web 2.0 sites like Infobarrel, Squidoo or Hubpages, you can skip this step, as it is automatically done for you.

2.    By now, you’re probably saying, “Anyone can wrongly point to my author page this way!” This is where authentication and the rel=”me” tag comes in.

Contributor To - Author Profile on Google Search Results
Go and edit the “About” section in your Google profile and click on “Contributor to”. Add the links to all your author profile pages that you want to link. This is how Google automatically adds the rel=”me” tag to the links to your author profiles. You can also add profile links to the “Other profiles” field. It works the same, but you may want to use that for all your other social media profiles and use “Contributor to” for your content profiles.

3.    Find the URL to your Google+ profile. If you’re using an old Google profile, it should look like: https://profiles.google.com/PhantomAuthor

For Google+ profiles, it should look like:    https://plus.google.com/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

4.    Next, you’ll need to add a link on all your author profile pages pointing back to your profile. This link will be tagged with rel=”me”.

Eg. That’s my Google+ Profile


Eg. That’s my Google Profile

Some web 2.0 sites, like Infobarrel and Squidoo, make it easier for you to link your account to your Google profile. They provide you a slot where you just need to enter your profile link and the rel=”me” tag is automatically added.

On sites like Hubpages, you won’t find either of the above two options. In these cases Google provides an alternate method. These sites do allow you to insert simple links into the text of your author profile, so somewhere on your author profile page, insert a link to your Google profile with the query “?rel=author” at the end, and your Google profile name as the anchor text.

Eg. Phantom Author+

For the above method to work, you must add the + at the end of your Google profile, even if you’re using an old Google profile.

5.    Finally, if you have more than one website, blog or web 2.0 profile that you create content on, you may want to link all of them up to one another. This way, you’re letting readers know that you have more content on other websites too. Do this using the rel=”me” tag.

Eg.  I’d insert this link in my Infobarrel profile page:

I also write for Hubpages

Note that this last step isn’t necessary to get your Google profile to appear on search pages for each piece of content. It’s just a good way to help your readers find your other content.


Does it Work?

Google will not immediately start displaying your profile picture and name next to all your links on search results. So, how do you know if you set it up correctly? There are two steps to testing it.

  1. First, click on each of your Google profile links on your author profile pages and make sure they lead you correctly to your Google profile page. Also, click on each link in the “Contributor to” section of your Google profile and check that they lead you to the correct author profile pages.
  2. Go to the Google Rich Snippet Tester tool and a URL to one of your author pages and click on “Preview”. If you successfully set up authorship, you should see something like this:


Google Rich Snippet Tester - author profile on Google search results


Note that verifying that you set it up correctly doesn’t affect your standings in search results, although there is talk that Google may one day start to implement authorship in their algorithm for search rankings.

Repeat this step for each of your Author page URLs.


Now that you’ve set up Google authorship correctly, try searching for your content after about a month. You’ll first notice a random piece of your content appearing with your profile and then a few others will appear a few days later. Although I can’t say for sure, apparently Google won’t automatically stick your profile next to your links in the search results. They’ll first verify that you’re publishing good content before deciding if you deserve it.


So there you have it! Once you’re able to see your author profile on Google search results, see if you find any increase in visitors through organic search. Above all, keep producing great content to take advantage of this feature.


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Oct 5, 2012 8:50am
Hi--Very iformative article--I only wish I was more computer savvy. Neverthless, 2 BG thumbs up for you.
Oct 5, 2012 9:08am
Thanks! It's actually pretty easy to do if you want... It took me all of 10 minutes to set it up for my IB content. If you want to set it up for yourself, just PM me and I'll go through the steps for you.
Oct 5, 2012 10:00am
I'm glad you posted this in the IB Tribe because I will visit again to give it a try. You idea of Authorship makes good sense. Before I ask for help I'll try on my own. Thanks
Oct 5, 2012 10:01am
Great! Let me know once you've tried.
Nov 13, 2012 12:17am
Excellent information. I was not quite doing it right, which I am now going to go back and rectify!
Nov 13, 2012 5:46am
Although I mentioned that it may take a month to see your pic in the SERPS, it took me just 2 days for 1 article. The others came within about 2 weeks. Hope you see the clicks increase soon!
Nov 30, 2012 8:00am
Great stuff, claudslewis! I'm going to implement this today! Brilliant, thumbs up!
Nov 30, 2012 8:02am
Tweeted a link to your article, too! @paul_sidwell
Nov 30, 2012 8:20am
Hey thanks Paul! Much appreciated. The funny thing is, if you google a phrase related to this topic, EVERYONE has their mug displayed on the search page, so my link to this article doesn't stand out at all!!
Nov 30, 2012 8:39am
Interesting, thanks for this info!! "Thumbs and Tweet!"
Nov 30, 2012 9:00am
Thanks! Except for the online privacy thing, it's pretty cool to implement.
Nov 30, 2012 9:32am
WOW thanks..this is great information. I suspect the author thing is really the wave of the future for Google. Thumbs up and bookmarked.
Nov 30, 2012 10:31am
It does look like it, although I suspect the advantage you get by standing out in the SERPs will be considerably less once more and more people implement it. Thanks for reading!
Nov 30, 2012 5:13pm
ahhh anonymity and authenticity... such a tricky game
Nov 30, 2012 6:04pm
Yup - Not very cool that the big G is trying to force everyone out of the shadows. Thanks for reading!
Nov 30, 2012 6:14pm
Thank you for the information, it's certainly worth considering. I do think Google is too intrusive when they decide what you have to let be public information, although it might be worth getting through the hoops with a pen name.
Nov 30, 2012 8:33pm
As long as you can get your pen name on a google plus account, it is possible. I've learnt though that it is not so simple. If you do manage to do it with a pen name please do let me know and I'll update this article. Thanks!
Dec 1, 2012 9:43am
Thanks...difficult to get some answers to questions. Also how to promote an article or ourselves as authors new to the system. Really helpful....
Dec 1, 2012 10:06am
I'm by no means an expert in this field but I do keep reading and learning. That's so important, especially since things change so fast in this line. All the best as to you as you move forward as an author!
Dec 1, 2012 4:41pm
You said "online privacy". Bwaaahaha!
Jan 21, 2013 10:03pm
Thanks for the info I had no idea you could do this let alone how. Great stuff!
Jan 22, 2013 5:18pm
When I started noticing the profiles sprinkled in search I thought you had to apply or pay for it or something. Haha! I had to dig around before I found out
Jan 22, 2013 9:26am
Very helpful...thanks!
Jan 22, 2013 5:15pm
You're very welcome!
Jan 22, 2013 1:21pm
Meh. I followed your instructions exactly but for some reason they aren't verifying my links when I use the snippet to check. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but it's getting kind of frustrating.

Can I PM you?
Jan 22, 2013 5:15pm
Sure! I just accepted the friend request.
Feb 19, 2013 5:22pm
It took me a few tries to get it right, but I did. I don't think I could have done it without your help! I'm off to promote your article now.
Feb 19, 2013 8:26pm
Thanks so much! Admin has now added an easy way to link from your account settings. I haven't tested it, but it looks very easy just for IB. This article is still relevant for other web properties though.
Jun 27, 2013 2:01am
Thanks for making it sound so easy. I will have to read your article many, many times to get the hang of this!
Jun 27, 2013 2:52am
You're very welcome and thanks for reading! Let me know if you get stuck.
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