Add Google authorship markup to WordPress sites using All in One SEO Pack

[Updated 28 August 2014: John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced that Google will stop showing authorship results in Google Search.]

I’ve read up on Google authorship markup this week, particularly in the context of adding it to self-hosted WordPress sites.

For Google, the idea is to surface popular authors’ web content in search results. For writers – or anyone publishing online – you can assert ownership of your content and enhance your personal brand online. (Urgh, I sound like a snake oil marcomms consultant in that last sentence; it’s true though.)

Google shows the author’s avatar and extra detail in search results, which help the author’s content stand out. For example:

Authors in Google search results with photos

Authorship markup describes the relationship between a piece of content and its author semantically. This helps search engines to identify the author’s work wherever it appears online. In practice, this means explicitly linking your Google+ profile to your content using rel="author".

Connect your sites to your Google+ profile

The first thing to do is add the sites you write for to your Google+ profile.

  1. In Google+, go to your profile and click Edit profile.
  2. Click the About tab and scroll down to the Contributor to section.
  3. Click the Contributor to label and add your website.
    Screenshot: Contributor to site urls
  4. Save your changes.

Add authorship markup to a single-author WordPress site

After reading lengthy guides by Rick DeJarnette and Tara Horner, adding authorship markup seems too complex a process. For WordPress themes, Tara explains editing the post and author page templates to include rel="author" on the post author name anchor, and linking the author’s name to her Google+ profile.

This doesn’t suit my purposes.

Firstly, I’m the only person writing on this site. This is a ‘single-author WordPress blog’ and it’s obvious to readers I write all the posts. To change the post metadata to include my name, and link it to my Google+ profile, just so I can add rel="author" seems daft. That would mean changing the post metadata from:

Carefully posted on 15th December 2012


Carefully posted on 15th December 2012 by <a rel="author" href="">Gavin Wray</a>

(For multi-author WordPress blogs, changing the post metadata in this way would break WordPress’ established navigation to view all posts by an author by clicking the author’s name.)

After digging around my site, I stumbled on a solution using the All in One SEO Pack plugin.

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > All in One SEO.
  2. Scroll down to the text field labelled Google Plus Profile Sitewide Default and enter your Google+ profile url. If you don’t know your url, go to Google+, right-click on your Profile icon and copy the link. It looks something like
    Screenshot: copy Google+ profile url
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the All in One SEO settings and click Update Options.

Now visit any page on your website and view the source html. Notice the following line in the head section:

<link rel="author" href="" />

This line tells search engines that the page was written by the person who owns the Google+ profile at the specified url.

Now it’s time to test using Google’s structured data testing tool tool.

Copy any url of a page on your site and paste it in the url field. You should see a preview of how your page will appear in search results alongside your avatar, links to more of your content and verified authorship:

Screenshot: Authorship preview in Google structured data testing tool

Add authorship markup to a multi-author WordPress site

If your WordPress site has multiple contributors and you’re using the All in One SEO Pack, the process to add authorship markup is different.

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > All in One SEO.
  2. Scroll down to the text field labelled Google Plus Profile Sitewide Default and ensure it’s empty.
  3. Now go to Users > Your Profile and you’ll see a field labelled Google+.
  4. Enter your Google+ profile url and save your changes.
  5. Visit any post or page that you published on the site, view the source html and you should see the markup in the head section:
<link rel="author" href="" />

I hope this is simpler than editing your WordPress theme.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the info, I was looking for the author’s bio because the post was all about authorship but I found none. Or maybe I just failed to locate it. I thought that rel=author will just give me a mug shot on the search engines but now I know that this gives me more than just good seo. But, I am doing it differently though in my WordPress blog. Instead of placing the code to every pages of my blog post, I use plug in for authorship, is that ok? Do I get the same benefit still?

    • Gavin Wray says:

      Hi Alice – apologies for not replying to your comment sooner. I’ve looked at your site and done a few test Google searches and the authorship looks like it’s working fine. You can always test this yourself by pasting the url of your posts into Google’s structured data testing tool following the steps in this post.

      The Google Plus Authorship plugin is indeed ok – using it has the same end result of adding the html snippet to in the head section of your posts. I used another solution mainly because I didn’t want to add yet another plugin!

  2. Great post Gavin! I spent the last two hours trying to figure this out. If I had just found this post sooner I would have been done in 10 minutes.

  3. Hi Gavin
    Thanks for this…. Question- is there an SEO plugin for blogs on aswell as .org?

    And, obviously Google loves Google, but is Google+ the only social network you can do this with?

    Thanks x

    • Gavin Wray says:

      Hi Katie. Plugins don’t exist in – plugins only apply to self-hosted WordPress sites. You might be interested in this post: All about SEO on, which answers lots of FAQs.

      I haven’t looked at showing authorship in MS Bing search results yet (or even if this is possible). Anyone else tried it?

  4. Brandon says:

    Hi Gavin,

    I appreciate the article. I’m having trouble getting the results you described with All in One SEO plugin and multi-author sites. I’ve set up the Google Plus URLs for myself and another contributor, but neither are showing up in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Here are two article links by the two authors I’ve set up Google Profile URLs for:

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    • Gavin Wray says:

      Hi Brandon,

      Looking at the source code of those two pages, the expected markup stating the author is missing from the head section. This would explain why you’re not seeing any changes in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

      I recommend checking the Google Profile URLs are definitely saved in each user’s profile under Contact Info (step 3 in the last section of this post).

      If all is well with the plugin settings, you should be able to see something similar to the following in the head of your page source:

       <!-- All in One SEO Pack 2.1.4 by Michael Torbert of Semper Fi Web Design -->
      <link rel="author" href="" />
  5. I have applied the plug-in settings thank you very much for the information you give

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *