Display Your Photo in Google Search Results

With the rise of Google+ in 2012, you’ve probably noticed that that G+ accounts have been integrated into Google search results and display a mini photo of the author next to certain articles. Google search rankings are now highly impacted by your reputation and engagement in social niches across the web.

If you’re consistently blogging quality articles and actively participate in social media communities, you’ve already won half the battle! All that’s left to do is follow a few easy steps to relay this information to Google, known as Google Authorship.

Before we get started, this article assumes you have the following:

  • Domain Name & Self-Hosted Website – My domain is thepixelista.com. Domains ending in .blogspot.com, .tumblr.com, or .wordpress.com are not custom domains.

    It’s possible to have a custom domain name but not have a self-hosted website. If your blog/website is hosted on Blogger (Blogspot), Tumblr, wordpress.com or similar, this tutorial may not work for you. If you are unsure about what you have, leave a comment below and I can help!

  • Email Address – You should have an email address using the same domain as your website. For example, my website is thepixelista.com and my email address is [email protected]. If you don’t already have one, contact your hosting provider and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

    Note: It is possible to establish your Google Authorship without an email address at your domain name, but I highly recommend that you do have one.

  • Google+ Accounts – You should have both a personal Google+ account (using your real name) as well as a Google+ business page for your website. For example, here is my personal G+ account as well as my business page. It is important that you use an actual photo of yourself on your personal Google+ profile (no cartoons or other imagery).

    I highly recommend filling out your profile/page as completely as possible. It is especially important to add your various social media accounts under About > Other Profiles on your personal profile, and under About > Links on your business page.

  • Now onto the Authorship process:

    Step 1 – Personal Profile Email Verification

    When setting up your profile, be sure to include your custom domain email address in your contact information. Your profile should look similar to mine below. Click the “verify” button next to your email – all you have to do is click the confirmation link it sends to your email address. Once you’ve successfully verified your email, a small checkmark will appear next to it where the “Verify” link was.

    Step 2 – Business Page Domain & Email Verification

    When setting up your business page, include your email address and website. I recommend using the same email address on both your personal profile and your business page. Your page should look similar to mine below.

    Verify your email address using the same method as your personal profile, then click the “link website” button. The following popup will appear:

    Google Authorship - Link your website

    As you can see, there are two methods of verification. My preference is the second, which is “link your website directly.” Once you click the link, it will give you a line of code that looks something like this:

    It instructs you to insert the code on your website’s home page. I added mine to a widget in my header (for my G+ social media icon). If you are unsure how to incorporate the link into your website, contact your web hosting provider and they’ll be able to help you.

    Once you’ve successfully verified your email address and domain, a checkmark will appear next to each on your business page.

    Step 3 – Add Bylines

    The next step is to add bylines to the articles you’ve published on your website using the code below (it doesn’t matter where you put it in your article – at the beginning or end both work great).

    I prefer to manually insert the code at the very bottom of my articles when publishing, but there are ways to automatically insert it into each of your articles if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog (contact your hosting provider for assistance).

    Make sure your name in the byline is identical to the name on your personal Google+ profile. For example, I would NOT want to put my name as “Jessie B” in the byline on my article, when my name on Google+ is “Jessica Barnard.”

    Mine looks like this:

    Step 4 – Sign Up for Google Authorship

    The last step is to formally sign up for the Google Authorship program. Simply enter your email address and press the “Sign Up for Authorship” button.

    Step 5 – Test It Out

    Don’t panic if your profile image doesn’t start appearing in search results right away. Google has to recrawl your articles before it will appear, which took several days in my case. You can ensure you followed the steps correctly by entering the URL of one of your articles into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

    You should see something similar to mine below, with a green “verified” box under “Author” and “Publisher.” If it asks you to verify the authorship if your article, don’t panic – that doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. The same thing happened to me. I am unsure if it affects the Authorship process or not, but I went through and verified the authorship for each of my articles one by one just to be safe.

    And that’s it! :) Enjoy all the benefits of being an official Google Author.

    Post by: Jessica Barnard


    1. Thanks so much. I had some trouble with this and ended up with two personal profiles as well as a business page. I signed up once for a personal page, then signed up again for a business page and it set me up another personal page as well !
      Any idea how I can unlink and delete the unwanted personal page?
      Thanks Jessica

      • Hi Deby, unfortunately I don’t have a solution for the duplicate personal accounts issue. I have the same problem myself! Google+ profiles were originally unavailable to people with custom domain email addresses (like mine, [email protected]), so I created a profile with my alternate Gmail address, [email protected]. Now I’ve got two, and to my knowledge there is no way to merge them or delete one. I’ll leave an updated comment if I hear anything!

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