How Your Google+ Profile Can Help Your Articles Links Stand Out

By Meranda Adams Comment

By now, you’ve probably noticed that when you search on Google, sometimes the articles in the results pop up with a person’s headshot and link to their Google+ page.

Case in point:
google search with authorship

How did I make that happen? I dusted off Google Plus and added myself as a contributor to the publications I write for.

Basically, this tells Google a human being — YOU! — wrote this piece of content. And it shows your face and how many people you’re connected to — again, my Google+ profile is a bit dusty so not too impressive, but it’s enough to establish I’m not just a spambot. I have legitimate connections and a full-fledged profile.

It’s really simple, too. There are two ways to establish authorship, but start by putting a decent headshot on your Google+ account (well, I guess start by creating and filling out the Google+ account if somehow you’ve made it this far without it). Then add the pages you contribute to your profile. You can do this by…

Email: Go to the Google+ authorship page and enter your work email address. This only works if you have a work email. If you’re and you want to establish authorship of articles published under your byline on that domain, you’re set. This will add a section to your Google+ profile that says Contributor to: Name of Publication.

Link: As you’ll see on the Google authorship page, there is an option if you don’t have an email address with that domain. (I don’t have an email, even though I’m a regular contributor to this blog, for example.) The way to establish authorship in that situation is to add a link back to your Google plus profile from the page. Do this by adding this link somewhere on your page: <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>

The [profile url] should be replaced by your profile link, so mine now is (if you haven’t claimed your custom name it’s probably just a bunch of numbers) and then the rel=author is the important part — it tells Google the author of this page = the owner of that Google+ profile. Then, add that site to your contributor to section manually. (More explanation from Google on this second option.)

Now, at this point, Google says it’s not using authorship as a factor in its rankings. Yet. But, even if it doesn’t help your content land on page 1, it does help content stand out when scrolling down a page of links.

You can totally fall down the rabbit hole and learn a lot more about Google authorship by reading endless posts about it and it’s potential benefit. But from questions I received after posting about how my search rankings ranked after changing my name when I got married, I realized a lot of journalists didn’t know about this relatively simple tool to make their work stand out online. If nothing else, this is a reason to finally set up and fill out that Google+ page.