Authorship – Your picture in search results

Ever wonder why some people’s faces are showing up in search results?  How do they do that? They do it by linking and then adding the Google Authorship META information to one of the links on their site.  This makes what is called a “rich snippet.”   How do you get your picture in search results? Let’s dig in.

rich snippet

In Google search engine results pages (SERPs), they call it Google Authorship, but that’s just their name for rich snippets.  In Bing, for example, they’ll use the author’s Facebook profile picture (if linked and available).

I think you can see how much more eye-catching having a rich snippet can be in an otherwise boring SERP.  Search for an article you wrote, by title if you want.  Is your face appearing along with a “By Name – More by Name?”

How to get your picture in search results:

  1. Check to make sure you’re verified. Put the link to the post into Google’s rich snippet testing tool and see how it should display in search engines.
  2. Make the connection directly. Make sure you’re linking from your Google+ profile to a bio on your site.  Then try linking to the specific post(s) as well.  Forget rel=me and use the rel=author.
  3. Add more tags. Add ?rel=author to the end of the destination URL, like so: Find Justin on <a title="Author: Justin Downey on Google+" href="<a title="Author: Justin Downey on Google+" href="" rel="author" target="_blank">Google+</a>

There you have it.  Search meets social.  Social meets search.

Authorship Update (8/6/14)

Google’s John Mueller has announced Google is making a major change in the search results around authorship. Specifically, Google is dropping the profile photo and circle count from the search listings where authorship is assigned to a web page.

Mueller said that the “click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.” For some reason, I highly doubt that, but webmasters can be the judge of that.

Oh, well.  It was fun while it lasted.

Justin Downey, 06/06/2012

We should mention that Google Authorship is still very much in it’s infancy. The algorithm will likely change very soon. Get on it!

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