If you’ve ever wondered why and how some search results have the author picture next to them, you’re not alone.

Google introduced the concept of Authorship a little while ago as a means of establishing the reliability – or authority – of a content source. If an author writes multiple articles for multiple sources, then they gain authority. If their articles appear consistently in search results – and are clicked – that in turn builds their authority.

It’s a good thing – giving more prominence to authors who are more trustworthy, and just better at generating content – but you need to do a little fiddling with code in order to set it up for your blog.

Google Authorship

What you need

To set this up, you’re going to need the following:

  1. a Google Plus+ account
  2. access to make changes to the header of your website

err, that’s it, actually.

What you need to do

So, go to your Google Plus+ account and make a note of your Google+ link … mine looks like this:

https://plus.google.com/105224137510967490959/

You’re then going to need to add a line of code to the <head> section of your website. You’re going to want to add this:

[crayon language=”html” title=”Google Author Link”] [/crayon]

This effectively links the content on your site to your Google+ account. You need to then verify that with google – so head back to your Google+ account and go to your profile page. In the ‘about’ section, on the right hand side, there’s a ‘Links’ box and in that a section marked ‘Contributor to ‘.  At the bottom of this box, click ‘edit’ and you can add in the websites which hold your authorship link.

contributor

Verifying it with Google

The changes may take a few days to show up in search results – so whilst you wait, it’d be good to know you’ve done everything right.  Fortunately, google produce a tool just for that purpose … the enticingly named Structured Data Testing Tool. You can use this to enter the address of a URL you’ve just added the author link to, and check the results. If everything has gone to plan, the results will look something like this:

structured-testing

And that’s it … you’re done!  Soon enough, search results will start showing up with your photo in them. Like I say, it’s a good thing for authors and searchers alike. So get to it!