In case you’ve ever wondered how some people get a thumbnail photo of themselves to show up in Google search results, these are known as Google author links and they are a great tool for making yourself more visible in search results and increasing your credibility if you run a blog. I’ve just managed to activate mine and thought I’d pass on the methods I used to get myself listed: it’s really a question of patience and trial and error. You can see how the thumbnail photo looks in the screenshot below: it’s about four times larger than the small photo that appears when you have shared a link on Google Plus and which usually says “You shared this”.
Google has detailed instructions about how to activate Google author links but it isn’t terribly clear how to apply this to different blog platforms. I’ve managed to activate these successfully in WordPress and in Blogger so thought I’d pass on the knowledge I’ve gained about the simplest way to do this. You will need to have a Google Plus account for this to work. These notes are for people with single author blogs only, but you will find instructions for multiple user blogs on the Google link above. These instructions are also relevant for Google+ personal profiles rather than business pages.
1. If you haven’t already, set up your Google Plus account.
2. If you don’t have one, set up an About Me page on both your Blogger and WordPress accounts. Add any biographical information you want to appear in search results (you can link your Blogger and Google+ accounts here but you still need to have an About Me page for this to work in my experience). Don’t forget your keywords!
3. In WordPress, you may need to add the Allow Rel= and HTML plugin if you are using the WordPress Author Bios page.
4. Sign into Google Plus and copy the URL at the top of your home page which will be https://plus.google.com/ followed by a string of 21 digits. This is your Google Profile URL.
5. Go here to get your personalised Google+ profile button and paste your profile URL into the box it shows you to generate the button HTML code. Copy the button HTML code (NB this is NOT the same as a “+1” button which allows others to share your content).
6. Add the button code at the bottom of your Blogger and WordPress ‘About Me’ pages (remember to paste into the HMTL section not the visual editor).
7. You should now have a button at the bottom of your About Me pages that links to your Google+ profile, just like I do here.
8. Now sign into your Google Plus account and go to ‘Edit Profile’.
9. Look for the ‘+1’s’ tab and click the box saying ‘Show this tab on your profile’ (I’m not entirely sure why this step is necessary but I include it as a lot of other walkthroughs have mentioned it and I did it myself).
10. Next, click the ‘About’ tab and click on the section saying ‘Contributor To’ and ‘Add Custom Link’
11. Add the link to your About Me page (NOT just the general URL) ie http://www.myblog.com/aboutme.html for both your WordPress and blogger blogs.
12. Go to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and put your About Me page URL in the box to check that your mark up is working correctly. The result should look something like this:
13. Google have provided a form you can send them to let them know you have added the Author link to your blog or site. It’s worth filling it in as they may get back to you if it doesn’t work.
That’s it! You can also add reciprocal links from your Google+ Business Page to your business website too, if you like, as I’ve done on Mimimyne, using this link, although it does not mean you will get author style profile photos in search.
Here’s a useful resource on Google author links by Joost de Valk for WordPress users and a detailed post on Google author links by AJ Kohn that I also found useful.
It’s also possible to get verified using your email address, try this link here – I haven’t used this method myself but it may be quicker than the method I described above!
Once it’s set up and running correctly, you can check your Author Stats in Webmaster Tools in the Labs section.