Want your picture or those of your blog authors to show up in search results? You’ve probably seen search results with a picture next to them, like this:

Want your picture or those of your blog authors to show up in search results? You’ve probably seen search results with a picture next to them, like this:

Want your picture or those of your blog authors to show up in search results? You’ve probably seen search results with a picture next to them, like this:

Those results appear because the blog has set up rel author, linking the author’s Google+ profile with the blog. As we described in an earlier post, this is one of three ways to get in good with Google. Rel author provides benefits beyond just a pretty search result. Here’s how to set your blog up with rel author:

  1. Create individual user accounts for each author in WordPress.
  2. Have each author create a Google+ profile.
  3. Add the blog to the Google+ profile.
  4. Add the Google+ profile URL to the WordPress user account.
  5. Make sure authors sign in with their user accounts to publish blog posts.

Create user accounts in WordPress

WordPress user menuFor each author on your blog, create a separate WordPress user account. Sign in as an administrator, and then, in the left menu, click Users.  Add a new user, or edit an existing one. Enter the name, user name, and email for the writer, and set the permission level. After you create the account, you or the new user can fill in additional information for the WordPress profile.

Creating your Google+ profile

Rel author works with your Google+ profile. So, the first step is to create one if you don’t have one already. Each author for your blog needs to do this.

Google walks you through the process. Before you start, you need:

  • An email address (or you can create a gmail one as part of the process).
  • A user name. (Of course, all the common ones—and a lot of variations—are already in use. So, get creative.)
  • A picture of yourself. This is what will appear in the search results, so choose a good one.

When you’re ready to create your account, go to http://google.com and, in the upper-right corner, click +You.  (If you see a blue Sign In button Sign In Button in GPlus in the upper-right corner, click it. Then, click Add account.) Under the sign-in box, click Create an account.

Fill out the box to create your account. You may have to try a few user names to find one that is available. Agree to the terms, and then click Next step.

Google Plus Profile Dialog

On the next page, click Add a photo and upload a photograph. This is very important, because it is the photo that will appear in search and on your Google profile page.

Continue adding information to set up your profile, following the instructions that Google provides.

Add your blog to G+

After you set up your initial profile, you can return to it to add more information. Just go to Google.com. In the upper-right corner, you’ll see +[your name]. (You may need to sign in, by clicking the blue Sign in  button Sign In Button in GPlus.)

To go to Google+, click your name. Then, point to the Home button Home Button in Google Plus on the left.  A menu appears. Select Profile.

Home Menu in Google Plus

On the profile page, click About. Fill in as much information as you’d like to—making your profile more personal is better for search and content distribution.

On the profile page, scroll down to the Links box. Under Links, click Edit.

Link section in Google Plus

Under Contributor to, click Add custom link.

Add Blog Link in Google Plus

In the Label field, enter the name of your blog. In the URL field, enter the address of the blog.

This adds your blog to your Google+ profile. Now, you need to do the reverse and add your Google+ profile to your blog.

Add your G+ profile to the blog

To go to your profile page in Google+, in the left menu, select Profile. Check the URL in your browser. It will look like something like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/103131876029074251407/posts. This URL is your profile ID. Write it down or otherwise make a copy of it. (If you are setting this up for another author, have them send you the URL.)

Sign in to WordPress and then, to go to your user profile, in the left menu, click Users and select your name. Scroll down to the Contact Info section. Under Google+, enter or paste the profile ID and then click Update User.

That’s it. You have now set up rel author. When an author publishes a post, Google will pick up the association between the user and their Google+ profile, and it will use the picture from their G+ page to populate search results. Google also tracks the author’s posts over time, associating them with certain topics and thus helping the individual to gain authority in the topic. You can aid the process by using schema.org tags to better identify the content, as discussed in our post, Three ways to get in good with Google. In the meantime, enjoy your new, personalized descriptions in search!