If you’ve ever written web content, you should absolutely be paying attention to the new Google+ option to show authorship. This authorship means that your byline and picture will come up on Google when anyone searches for content that you’ve written, and it’s significant for the following reasons:
- You get clear credit for what you’ve written. Nothing wrong with that, right?
- The more credible content you’ve written (especially if it’s content that’s high up in the search ranks), the higher future articles you write will be on the Google search engine (or so the theory goes—the exact Google algorithm is still a bit of an enigma).
- The content that you write will establish you as a known source on your topics of expertise.
Okay, so now that you know what Google+ authorship is and why it’s worth paying attention to, let’s talk about how to set it up. It can get a little complicated, so I’m going to break it down into a step-by-step process, focusing specifically on how to use the 2-link method to Google+ authorship.
- Create a Google (Gmail) account if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, log into your account.
- Go to https://profiles.google.com/.
- You’ll now be asked to upload a headshot for your profile. Remember, this is going to show up alongside content you’ve written, so make sure it looks professional.
- After finishing your photo, click the following buttons: Continue to Google+ → Profile → Edit Profile → +1’s
- Select Show this tab on your profile and click Save.
Still following along? Good. Let’s talk about how to connect Google+ to your other social media profiles in order to make the most out of it.
- Click: About → Other profiles → Add custom link.
- Enter labels and URLs for all other social media profiles that you have (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and then Save.
- You’ll see in this About section that you can choose to enter more information about yourself (such as your Occupation and Education). You might as well fill those boxes out, right? The more professional information you include, the more you’ll look like a credible source when people link back to your Google+ page.
- Don’t forget to click Done Editing when you’ve updated all your info!
- Copy the ID number for the URL of your Google+ page. You’ll see why this is important in the next step.
Okay, now I’m going to go over how to set up your Google+ authorship using the 2-link method. With this method, whenever you have a mini author bio at the end of an article or blog post that you’ve written, you can link back to your Google+ profile, and that profile will include a link back to the home page of the site your article was published on. Here’s how you make those links active:
- Go to one of your mini author bios on an article you’ve written. Add the phrase Google+ (to show what you’re linking to) and add a link to this phrase. This is where you’re going to use that ID number that you copied; paste it in as your link back to Google+ and add “?rel=author” to the end. Here’s an example of what it should look like: https://plus.google.com/107008023283856498564?rel=author
- Go back to your Google+ profile, click Edit Profile → Contributor to → Add custom link.
- Now you can enter a label (like ‘Madeline’s Super Great Blog’, if that’s the name of the site your article was posted on) and the URL for Madeline’s Super Great Blog (or, you know, the home page of whatever website you actually posted your article on).
- Click Save → Done Editing.
If you have more mini bios on different sites, go through and repeat this process for each one (I know, it’s time consuming, but it’s worth it!). When you’re done, the last thing to do is to verify that your Google authorship markup code is valid.
- Go to the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool page.
- Paste the URL of one of your content pages (the page with your post and mini author bio) into the available box and press Preview.
Check the results for errors. Google will make it pretty clear if there are; they’ll use red text to show anything that’s not configured correctly. If this happens, carefully walk back through the steps to figure out where you went wrong. If there’s no red, then congratulations! You’ve mastered the 2-link method to Google+ authorship.