How To Get Your Photo Next To Your Post In Google Search Results

Google search results often now contain a small thumbnail image of the author next to a result.

Anything that draws the searcher’s eye to your link and gives your post more authenticity has got to be worth implementing.

In this Weekend WordPress Project we’ll take a look at how to get your face attached to your posts in the Google search results.

Composite image including a screengrab of a google search result with an author profile image
Authorship adds authenticity to your posts in Google search results

Google is currently piloting the inclusion of author information in search results. When Google recognises the author of a post, it adds the author’s profile image, name and Google Circle info to the search result.

This provides a couple of major benefits: firstly, any image is going to help draw attention to your post in the search results; secondly, it gives a quick and easy way for searchers to find out more about the author; and thirdly, may help give your post more credibility.

Screen grab of a Google search result with my profile photo
Who’s not going to click on my search result?

There are two ways to verify your authorship for a domain with Google, depending on whether you have an email account for the domain.

NOTE: You need to have a Google+ account for either method to work, so if you don’t have one, go set one up now. If you don’t already have a Google Account then you’ll be asked to create one first. Remember, you’ll also need to have a profile picture!

Yes, I Have An Email Account For The Domain

If you have an email address with website address in it (i.e. you write for wpmu.org and have an @wpmu.org email address) then you can follow these steps:

1.  Go to the authorship page for Google Plus and enter your email address. Google will add the domain to your Contributor to section of the Links metabox on your profile (go to your Google+ profile and click on About in the top menu) and send you a verification email.

2. Click on the button in the verification email

3. Ensure that your name is on each post. Google recommends adding By Chris Knowles, or Author: Chris Knowles.

When indexing a page on your domain, Google will look for any profiles with the domain in the Contributor to and will try to match the post author name to a profile name.

No, I Don’t Have An Email Account For The Domain

If, like me, you are writing for a site but don’t have an email with that domain (I don’t have an @wpmu.org email address) then you need to give Google a little more help.

1. Add the URL for each website to the Contribute to section of your profile. When the dialog appears, enter the URL(s) and click Save.

2. Back to your WordPress site, install the Google Author Link plugin. This adds a new field to the Contact Info section on each user profile allowing the storage of the URL of the user’s Google Profile. Fill that in for each of your users.

3. Optionally configure the plugin. You don’t need to but the options allow you to fine-tune how the author link is displayed. You can set an author for the home page, hide the link on each category or custom post type.

When a page is displayed that requires an author link, the plugin will insert a link with ?rel=author into the HTML <head> letting Google know who the author is.

Checking Google Can Work Out The Author

Whichever method you choose, it’s going to be worthwhile checking to make sure that all is set up correctly. To help, Google has a useful tool where you can test what Google sees when it views a post on your site.

Enter a URL and Google will provide a preview of a search result snippet along with information about the authors that it found in the page.

Regardless of which method you use, setting up authorship for Google search results is a quick and painless exercise and, if nothing else, will bring a smile to your face when you see your profile picture pop up in Google’s search results.