Are you trying to figure out how to add the Google+ rel=author tags to your WordPress theme without much success? Hopefully you are aware that adding this snippet to your blog posts and linking them to your Google+ page allows for you to be credited in name and photo in Google search results (i.e. your posts get preference in search result rankings and feature your lovely mug). There are a number of GREAT blog posts out there (many of which are linked below) that explain how this works for SEO and how to implement it in WordPress generally, but, in our case, our theme setup and layout just wasn’t conducive to their advice—read: I just couldn’t make it happen for a whole host of reasons.
What follows is the method I came up with after reading many blog posts and the Google references for how to setup the rel=author attribute to tie your blog posts to your Google+ page.
How it works
The rel=author attribute, when appropriately implemented, creates a circular set of references that link your authored posts to your Google+ page.
- The post references an “About Me” page on your site (if you have one and most people do; if not, you can directly reference G+ from the post and there will be more on this below)
- The “About Me” page references G+
- The G+ page references the SITE for which you write. (not the blog page—this is important and I will expand on it below)
The Issues I had
Our WordPress site is set up to advertise our business, Spectate Inbound Marketing. We have a blog with posts from multiple authors and a series of pages set up as individual “About Me” pages for each author. The author designation on each of our blog posts, however, does not link to these individual author pages, but instead to a list of archived posts by that author (if this link was in place, it would have made everything SO much easier! If that’s your situation, tell me below and I can help you out). Instead, these pages were created without any type of tie-in link to the fact that the people described were our authors.
So if you similarly created “About Me” pages for your team that aren’t connected to their blog posts directly now, read on. If not, Yoast explains well how to implement the rel=author attribute for a single author blog and for multi-author blogs that DO already have a link on each post tied to “About Me” pages. AJ Kohn also has a good explanation (that is actually well-written for the less tech-saavy) on how to implement the author attribute.
The solution I had to implement involves a WP plug-in that creates and populates an Author Box at the bottom of every blog post. The box link to the author’s “About Me” page, which link to G+ and back again. Easy enough, right? It’s actually a little finicky. Follow on for the exact nuances and HTML code snippets.
- FIRST/LAST NAME: These have to be filled in if you want a name to appear in the Author Box.
- WEBSITE: Use the URL for the author’s “About Me” page. OPTION1: This is where you implement the rel=author attribute. After the URL add “?rel=author”
http://spectate.com/about-us/about-our-people/caitlin-vonhedemann/ →(If you choose to not implement the attribute here, use the original url.)
- BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: Write the text for your Author Box. OPTION2: Include a link to your author’s Google+ profiles here with the rel=author attribute tag (Both Options are not necessary. Option 2 technically bypasses the About Me page and links directly to Google+. As I’ve mentioned, this is acceptable to Google. Which method you choose is up to you. FYI, I included both on our blog; The way I figure, an extra opportunity to be circled on Google+ can’t hurt!).
Once downloaded and activated, you don’t necessarily need to edit anything about the plug-in settings. It will automaticlly appear at the bottom of all of your past blog posts. For our site, I did edit a little of the CSS (the font styling in particular) to make it look a little more like our website.
NOTE 1: The blue color box at the bottom can’t be changed. So if blue isn’t for you, you may have to explore other author box options (like Author Exposed).
NOTE 2: Changing the link color can’t be done. You have to work with the CSS in the Plug-in file to change the links colors if you want it to appear differently.
The information from each user profile populates automatically into this box, which brings us to Step 2….
As the Author Box populates from information in each User Profile, you need to make sure it is filled in. Each user profile can be accessed by a site administrator in the Users area of the left-hand navigation menu of WordPress. Below are the imperative fields for implementing the rel=author tag.
NOTE 1: Remember to use your own Google+ URL! Your numbers in the URL will be different than mine, but the rest will be the same.
Circle Caitlin on Google+!
NOTE 2: According to AJ Kohn, a BFD in the Internet Marketing world, it’s best to use the base url for these links to your G+ profile. Be sure to remove the “/posts” suffix from the URL. This suffix will automatically appear, but just remove it.
Now the “About Me” page needs a link to the author’s Google+ profile. If you used Option1 for the rel=author attribute, you MUST do this step. You may include it anywhere you like, but this attribute must include the rel=me tag, not rel=author. Here, you are claiming your G+ profile as your own, as “me”, which is why you use this attribute instead.
Connect with me on Google+!
There are two links to create on your Google+ profile—and remember, this is your author page, not a company or product page.
- Under “Other Profiles” add a link to your About Me page on your website
ex: “Spectate – About Caitlin”
- Under “Contributor to” add a link to your WEBSITE, not the blog page or a single post.
ex: “Spectate Inbound Marketing”
Google Webmasters Tools includes a verification tool for these snippet attributes you have now implemented. Go to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and input the link of a single blog post to verify the correct setup.
If it is correctly implemented, you will see something like this:
If you missed the last step, the setup link on Google+, you would see this:
There are a number of other tactics you can use to optimize your G+ profile page to help your authorship ranking. Here is an incredible (and long!) article that talks about specific, small changes to Google+ to boost SEO that can help you rank better.
Good luck! Feel free to write in the comments if you have a question—I will do my best to answer it!
Video from Google's Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson re: Authorship Markup