Getting your profile pic to appear in Google for blog posts (Google+ Authorship)
May, 2013 by Tom Elliott
Google started using ‘Authorship markup’ for content publishers in mid 2011, whereby content authors can have their Google+ profile pictures displayed in the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) next to their content. I’ve been using authorship markup for the past year or so for my WordPress blog, enjoying seeing my cartoon style author profile picture appear next to each of my blog posts.
Here’s a screenshot of www.webdevdoor.com in Google for one of my blog posts – position #1 – showing my profile pic alongside title, description and Author info.
If I had more people in circles, the text ‘- in XX Google+ circles’ would appear next to my name. (If you want to add me to a circle, I usually add back!). Update: the text ‘in X Google+ Circles’ seems to appear when 20 or more people add you to their circles.
Getting you’re author profile pic to appear next to your blog posts in Google SERPs is straightforward and requires the following steps:
Create a Google+ page if you already haven’t done so and make sure your Google+ name is the same as your Author name used for blog posts.
If you have Author information on each blog post.
Most blogs have Authorship information on each blog post, such as ‘By Tom Elliott, Dec 2012′. If this is the case, you can link directly to your corresponding Google+ page using the ?rel=author parameter.
An example would be:
By <a title="Tom Elliott on Google +" href="https://plus.google.com/113434671014173399264/about?rel=author">Tom Elliott</a>, Dec 2012.
If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to find and edit the corresponding code (usually in functions.php or single.php) that adds this link to the WordPress blog post. Alternatively, you can download a plugin that lets you control Author details for each post such as Author Box
If you don’t have Author info on each blog post.
You will need a Profile or Author page that appears on each page of your site and link to this page using rel=”author” in the ‘a’ tag from your blog content. I have an ‘About’ page in my main sidebar menu as follows: <a rel=”author” href=”http://www.webdevdoor.com/about/”>About</a>.
Then, from your profile page, link to your Google+ page using the full Google+ URL and the parameter rel=author. Mine is: <a title=”Tom Elliott on Google +” href=”https://plus.google.com/113434671014173399264/about?rel=author”>+Tom Elliott</a>
From your Google+ page, go to ‘profile’ then the ‘about’ section. In the Links and ‘Contributor to’ panel, add a link back to your blog or the same About/Profile page if that’s where you added your Google+ link.
That should be it! Be patient as it can take a number of days for your Google+ profile to appear and can depend on how often Google searches your content and see your rel=”author” links.
You can also check your Google+ profile is setup correctly by using the Structured Data Testing tool
. Enter your website address and test results (hopefully successful) will appear under Authorship Testing Result and Authorship rel=author Markup headings.
It doesn’t matter how many people you have in your circles to get your authorship profile pic to display. When I initially got my authorship profile working, I only had 6 people. I think you need about 100 people in your circles before Google starts displaying this information in the SERPs.
It doesn’t matter how frequent you share things on Google+ either. I rarely share, although I’m trying to post more frequently these days.
It’s worth noting that Google does use face recognition, so clearly identifiable mug shots should be used and profile pics that use company logos for example would not display. Stylised and cartoon profile pics don’t always work either – my cartoon styled face hasn’t always displayed next to blog posts and Google will sometimes tweak their face recognition algorithm.