Have you ever done a Google search and noticed that some of the results have photos next to them?  This is thanks to Google Authorship, a feature of Google+ that allows you to distinguish your content, increase your click throughs, and build a following.

For example, a search for my name yields almost 11 million results but–at least at the time I’m writing this post–my Red Clay Interactive page is the only one with a photo.

google authorship example

Why it matters

There are several key benefits to Authorship, the first and most important to me is the potential increase in click throughs.  On a page of text-only search results, images stand out and are more likely to get a click.  Sites that have implemented structured markup on their content have reported increased click through rates of 30 to 150+ percent.  So far the majority of content creators are not taking advantage of Google Authorship and other markup options which makes your content even more likely to stand out.

Another great benefit of Authorship is that it helps others find more of your content through extra links to your sites.   If someone clicks into one of your articles and stays on the page for a little while before going back to their results, they may be presented with additional articles.

Here is one of my blog posts showing in the search results:

google authorship bonus links

After clicking on that post and staying on the page for a little while, when you hit the back button to go back to the search results you will now see three additional blog posts listed under my original post:

google authorship bonus links

How to set it up

Setting up Google Authorship is simple:

1. Create a Google+ profile.  You must include a clear, good quality head shot as your profile picture.

2. Make sure your content pages have a byline (e.g. “By Lindsey Marshall” or “Author: Lindsey Marshall”)

3. Verify your email address at plus.google.com/authorship

There will be some additional instructions on the Google Authorship page, but it is a simple process.  It’s easiest if you have an email address tied to your Google+ profile that is on the same domain where your content is posted, but if not it is still possible to verify.

Once you have completed the setup process it can take a couple weeks, but soon your photo will start appearing in the search results next to your posts!


Have you started using Google Authorship or other structured markup data yet and if so have you noticed any changes?

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