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

HTML link snippet

I’ve read up on Google authorship markup this week, particularly in the context of adding it to websites built on WordPress.

For Google, the idea is to surface web content by popular authors in search results. For writers – or indeed anyone publishing online – it can help you assert ownership over your web content and enhance your personal brand online. (Urgh, I sound like a snake oil marcomms consultant; 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 semantically describes the relationship between a piece of content and its author, so search engines can identify the author’s work published on multiple sites. 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. Go to your profile in Google+, select the About tab, scroll down to the Links box and select Edit.
  2. Go the Contributor to section and select Add custom link.
  3. Add your website name and URL:

List of links associated with profile and fields to add new links

Add authorship markup to a single-author WordPress site

After reading lengthy guides by Rick DeJarnette and Tara Horner, adding authorship markup seemed overly complex. 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 their Google+ profile.

This doesn’t suit my purposes.

Firstly, I’m the only person writing on this site. In that respect 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

…to:

Carefully posted on 15th December 2012 by <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/1/109382002866848246485/" rel="author">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 neat solution using the All in One SEO Pack plugin.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard menu and select All in One SEO.
  2. Scroll down to the text field labelled Google Plus Default Profile 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 address. It looks like https://plus.google.com/u/1/1234567890.
    Screenshot: copy link address of Google profile
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the All in One SEO settings and select Update Options.

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

<link href="https://plus.google.com/u/1/yourprofileid123" rel="author" />

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

Verify authorship is working

Now it’s time to test the authorship is working using Google’s structured data testing tool.

  1. Copy any url of a page on your site.
  2. Paste this in the url field of the Google structured data testing tool. You should see a preview of how your page will appear in search results with your avatar, links to more of your content and verified authorship:

Screenshot of verified authorship in Google structured data testing tool

Add authorship markup to a multi-author WordPress site

If your WordPress site has multiple contributors and you use the All in One SEO Pack, the process to add authorship markup is slightly different:

  1. In your WordPress dashboard menu, select All in One SEO.
  2. Scroll down to the text field labelled Google Plus Default Profile and ensure the field is empty.
  3. Go to Users > Your Profile and scroll down to the field labelled Google+ under Contact Info.
  4. Enter your Google+ profile url and save your changes.
  5. Visit any post or page which you published on the site, view the source html and you should see the markup in the head section:
<link href="https://plus.google.com/u/1/109382002866848246485" rel="author" />

Hopefully, that’s 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 wordpress.com 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 WordPress.com – plugins only apply to self-hosted WordPress sites. You might be interested in this post: All about SEO on WordPress.com, 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:
    http://www.eatmorebliss.com/recipes/the-best-body-butter/
    http://www.eatmorebliss.com/recipes/chocolate-chia-seed-pudding/

    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="https://plus.google.com/yourid/" />
  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 *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>