Google Authorship – Getting Your Face in Google Search Results

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Published February 15, 2013 by Brad Knutson
WordPress and Google+

I’m sure you have noticed while paging through Google search results that some results have the authors image next to them. This is called Google Authorship, and Google has given us the ability to stand out and drive even more traffic to our sites.

Take, for example, the below screen shot I took for one of my clients. The result that has the image of the author next to it is much more appealing, and will get a higher CTR (Click Through Rate) than the result immediately below it.

Google Authorship SERP

So how do we get our picture next to our page in Google search results? It’s not a very well documented process, and there are actually several different options.

Step 1 – Get a Google+ Profile

Before we get into the code however, we first need to make sure that you have a Google+ profile set up. Google Authorship links your pages to your Google+ page, so obviously a Google+ profile page is required. It’s also very important that your profile photo is eye-catching and somehow focused on your niche! I’m going to say that again…

Make sure your Google+ profile photo is eye-catching!

With a unique profile photo, your search result will draw the focus of your potential readers eyes. Getting the reader’s attention is the majority of the battle, and a strong eye-catching profile picture will help you do just that.

Now let’s edit your Google+ profile. First let’s make sure that your email address is verified. You’ll know it is when there is a check mark next to it, like below.

Verify Email

Step 2 – Add a Google+ Contributor Link

Next you’ll need to link your Google+ profile page to your website. This is called a Contributor Link. Go back to your Google+ profile, and click on the About tab.

Contributor Link

Let’s edit your profile, and add a new Contributor link. Click “Add custom link” and enter the label and the URL. The label will be the anchor text, but these are no follow links so don’t both entering keywords here, make it something that a visitor to your profile would want to click on – like the name of your website or something simple like “My Blog.”

Edit Contributor Link

Step 3 – Add Your Google+ Profile Link to your Site

Now for the important step. We need to get your site linked back to your Google+ profile page. If you are using WordPress, there are a few ways to accomplish this. If you are building your site in just HTML or PHP, you have one simple option.


The easiest way to link up your WordPress site with your Google+ profile is to use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

After installing this plugin, go to your WordPress user profile page, and scroll down until you find the Contact section, and enter the URL of your Google+ profile page. Below is a screen shot of my settings.

WordPress User Profile and Google+ Profile Link

As long as the Yoast SEO plugin is activated, this should work. You can confirm by viewing the source of your website, and looking in the head section. Here is a screen shot of what I see, with the proper link back to my Google+ profile page.

WordPress Google Authorship Link

Site from scratch (HTML, PHP, etc)

Copy the code below, and change the href value to a link to your profile page. You can copy the URL from your address bar, but take out anything after your Google+ ID number – often times you will see /posts at the end of the URL.

Place this code in the header of your page, between the <head> tags.

If you are building each page individually, make sure you past this code on any page that you want your Google+ profile picture to show up next to in Google search results. If you are building your site with PHP, add the link to you header.php file.

Step 4 – Test your Google Authorship Connection

The final step is to test to see if you’ve set up the Google Authorship connection properly. Head over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and punch in your domain name. If you’ve followed the above steps correctly, you should see something similar to the below screen shot I took.

Google Authorship Example

If you see your picture next to your search result, then you’re all set! Give Google a few days to reindex your site before your image will actually show up in Google search results, but it’s well worth the wait. More often than not your image will not appear in Google search results immediately.

Using Google Authorship markup has been proven to increase site traffic by increasing Click Through Rates. With implementing something as simple as this, why wouldn’t you want to do it?

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Founder at Inbounderish
Brad Knutson is a Web Developer in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. He has experience working with WordPress and Drupal, and also has an interest in SEO and Inbound Marketing.

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12 thoughts on “Google Authorship – Getting Your Face in Google Search Results

  1. King

    I m using yoast’s SEO plugin and have added my G+ URL to it expecting Google to crawl my site and index my profile in search results

    1. Brad Knutson Post author

      You’ll want to make sure that you add the URL or your site to your Google+ profile also. Google needs two see a 2-way connection before it will recognize you as the author and start showing your Google+ profile image next to your search results.

      Also, give Google a little time to start showing your images, it won’t happen overnight. You can check to make sure you have it set up properly by using the tool found here:

    1. Brad Knutson Post author

      Hey Tom,

      I’d be happy to talk with you. I removed your email and phone number from your comment so you don’t get spammed. I’ll shoot you an email.


  2. Spook SEO

    Hi Brad, First of all thanks for describing this post in such great way. I am not a developer and didn’t ever did programming and have my own website that has developed in php but I really don’t know to customize it and to add this appealing feature into it. Do you have any other easy way that I could do this in php site? Please Help

  3. Brad Knutson Post author

    You can include your Authorship snippet in an include file and use the PHP include() function, or build a custom function to add the snippet in.


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