How To Setup Authorship For Guest Posts In WordPress

You may not care about Google Authorship, but you should.  Authorship is Google’s new (and as-yet still evolving) way of assigning authority to authors for the (eventual) purposes of determining search rankings and determining content ownership. Authorship is also what makes your image show next to a blog post in Google Search Results:

Image of Rand B. Wilson in search results
Having an image in the SERPs may get you more clicks to your blog

For a more in-depth view of Google Authorship and Author Rank, see this article by Mark Traphagen of Virante.org: Google Authorship and Author Rank.

A lot of bloggers that I know (myself included), took the fast and easy way of establishing authorship in their blog by just adding their rel=Author tags directly into their WordPress theme’s template or sticking it in the footer or a widget.  Adding your Author tag directly into your template or in a widget or the footer works fine if you are the only person that ever posts in your blog.  But when that day comes to publish a post from a guest author that wants his or her own authorship credit, or if you have a multi-user blog you have to do it the right way.

How to configure WordPress Authorship For Guest Posts or Multiple Authors

    • The first step is to create Google Plus profile. If you use Gmail, Adsense, Analytics, or virtually any other Google service you probably already have a Google Plus profile, or just need to activate it. In either case, go to https://plus.google.com to get your profile created or activated.
    • On your Google Plus profile page, add your blog URL in the “Contributor To” section of your profile. All of your guest authors will also have to create a Google Plus profile and add your blog URL or the URL directly to their guest post into their Contributor To section.
    • In your WordPress user profile page, add the following tags into your Bio section:

<link href=”http://plus.google.com/YOURID” rel=”me” />
<link href=”https://plus.google.com/YOURID” rel=”author” />

  • Replace ‘YOURID’ in the code above with your Google Plus ID number.  Your Google Plus ID number is the long number in the URL of your profile page.
  • Add above tags into the bio section of your guest authors using their Google Plus Profile ID numbers
  • Install the “Allow REL=and HTML in Author Bios” plugin.  This plugin will prevent your author tags from being stripped from the bio section which WordPress will do by default. Without the “Allow REL” plugin Google will not be able to read the authorship tags in the bio sections

You Now Have Google Authorship Configured For You And Your Guest Authors!

Be sure to test your changes with the Google Webmaster Structured Data Testing Tool to confirm that Google can read the tags and that everything is working.  To use the Structured Data Testing tool just paste in the URL from one of your posts and click ‘preview’ to confirm that Google is able to extract all of your author information. All the changes I described above take effect immediately so if you did it right, you should see your image as it will appear in search results.

Notes and tips about adding authorship to your WordPress blog:

  • It will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before your image begins to appear in Google search results (if it is going to. See next note)
  • Adding your Authorship tags does not guarantee that your image will appear in the search results
  • If you had previously manually added your rel=author tag directly into your WordPress theme template, in a widget, footer, or anywhere else, you will have to remove it
  • Now that you have a Google Plus profile (or, even if you already had one), be sure to join the Google Authorship Community in Google Plus so you can keep up on the still evolving Authorship Project and how it impacts SEO

If you have any issues getting your Authorship implemented on your WordPress blog please leave a comment.  I try to respond to all comments in my blog as quickly as possible.

How To Setup Authorship For Guest Posts In WordPress by
  • ankit mohan

    Hello Rand,

    I am not that technically sound, but I have blog on wordpress.com. And I was trying to establish authorship for one of the guest bloggers on that blog. I followed the procedure mentioned in this post. And I even tried the blogger to do add the blog address in the contributor section of his google plus profile. But the authorship was still not verified.

    Now, I didn’t find an option to add the plugin on the blog. And I even tried to establish authorship through Google+ as I read in webmaster tools that this also works, but still no results. But the guest author was able to verify authorship on his blog on wordpress through this method.

    Could you guide me please?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @google-e036d7eb3bb7e20159f58141bec248d9:disqus this guide is intended for ‘self hosted’ WordPress blogs and I’m not sure if/how well it would work for blogs hosted on WordPress.com. Now i will have to look into this to see if it is possible and if so, i will write up a new how-to.

  • Beth Browning

    Hi Rand,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It’s well written and easy to follow. I love that people are so willing to share and help.

    Have a great day!

    Beth

  • Brett Tudor

    Hi Rand

    I can’t seem to get my picture next to anything I have written. I know it isn’t guranteed but perhaps there is something small I am doing wrong.

  • Brett Tudor

    Just tested using the Rich Snippet tool and it appears. But not when I do a search, maybe I just need to wait.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @google-d6e71aa72972f4951b7bd1de181f95a8:disqus, if the Rich Snippet Tool says it’s correct and show’s you’re image, there is nothing left to do. Usually it can take a few days to a few weeks before you see your Authorship image in search results, but, it may never show at all. That’s just how Google rolls.. Apparently..

  • http://thedripple.com/ Nikhil Phirke

    This is super great. Thanks for the tip and good explanation.