A couple weeks ago I was Googling something and noticed that a handful of search results on each page had a small profile image next to the listing.
You’ll notice that there’s an image of me, along with the number of people who have circled me and a link to more content by me.
When I saw the images on that search page, I thought “wow, that’s pretty cool and I bet it helps increase click through rates.”
So I did what all intelligent people do when they don’t know how to do something.
Phone a friend.
In my case, I emailed a buddy who happens to be one of the top SEO people on the planet and asked him how it’s done.
Who I asked isn’t important, but how it’s done is… so here are the steps I took to get Google to display my profile in their search results.
1. Create an Author Page
This was an easy step for me, because like most people, I have an About page. Typically most bloggers have a page on their site where they include biographical information and things of interest to them.
In addition to that, a lot of folks have links to their social media profiles so they can increase their follower count on those platforms.
On my About page, I included a link to my Google+ account, which has a rel=”me” attribute on it. Here’s the code that I used for this link:
<a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/109450535379570250650/posts" rel="me">Google+</a>
2. Setup a Google+ Profile
In case you don’t have one, you’ll need to create a Google+ profile. Once you have an account setup, you’ll need to edit your profile to add a link in the Contributor to section that points to your Author page.
Here’s a screenshot which shows the contributor to settings:
I have a link called My Blog and that points to my About page where my Google+ link (with rel=”me” attribute) exists.
3. Link to your Author Page
The Author (or About in my case) page needs to be linked to with a rel=”author” attribute added to it, in order to “prove authority” of the content on the site.
Since I used WordPress custom menus to build my site navigation, adding this attribute was quite simple.
Go to your custom menus screen, and make sure the Link Relationship (XFN) option is checked in the Screen Options section. (There’s a gray tab labeled “Screen Options” in the upper hand corner of your screen when you’re in the dashboard.)
When you add/edit a custom menu link, there’s a Link Relationship (XFN) input box where you’ll need to place author in.
Here’s how the custom menu link for my About page looks:
4. Be Patient and Confirm You’ve Done it Correctly
It will usually take a few days (sometimes longer depending on the site) for Google to re-index your Author page, as well as hit your Google+ profile page.
After some time has passed, you can use the Rich Snippets Testing Tool from Google to see if things are working properly.
If they are setup properly, you’ll be able to submit a sample page to the tool, and you’ll see a report that looks something like this:
It’s worth noting that the steps mentioned above were the ones that I took to get Google to display my profile in search results.
Of course there might be other methods that can get this to occur, so this is not the only way to get this to happen. Do some Googling on this if you want.
In fact, just the other day Joost de Valk published a blog post that appears to be a much simpler way to accomplish this.
Either way will work, so choose the method you feel most comfortable using.