Setting up Google+ Authorship in WordPress

Google+ Authorship

Google+ Authorship is well documented in a number of Google+ support pages along with numerous blog and Google+ posts.  The problem most people have is connecting all of the dots between that documentation and what they need to do on their WordPress site. The desired result on WordPress is:

  1. The rel=”author” attribute on the individual blog posts for that author.
  2. A link to that author’s Google+ profile About page in the bio (found either on that post or in the author page, or both)
  3.  A rel=”publisher” attribute on the home page of that site. (Discussed in a separate post.)

Because this can involve one or more  plugins, depending on your theme, and what other plugins you may have installed, it is important to understand the end result because the process to get there can vary. 

We are going to review the process and help guide you through these decisions.  The profile that you want to link to authorship will be referred to as the “author profile”.

(Navigation note: Navigating to the correct place can get wordy at times. We will use a common shorthand where the menu selections are placed in quotes and delimited by the pipe character “|”, There may be cases where you start on a main menu and then use a context menu for subsequent selections.)

We are first going to start with the basic setup, much of which is not specific to WordPress.

Step One – “Contributor to” setting

In your “author” profile go to “Profile | About” screen and scroll down to the Links section. Either add or confirm that you have set the link for the WordPress site:

G+ profile linksHere you should add those websites or blogs to which you are a content contributor. This is important because in addition to the “author” settings, Google often can use this information to link your content “by other means” if possible.

Step Two – Link your content back to your Google+ profile.

Google has two ways to create that link from a webpage back to your profile.  On those sites where you don’t have access you will have to rely on Google making the link for you between that site’s “rel=author” attribute and your “Contributor to” settings. On your own website or blog you can explicitly make that link.  There are two techniques. The first technique assumes you have a domain email address that matches the domain of your website or blog.  Example would be: Email –, for Website – The second technique, which is the most commonly used, is to place a small code snippet on a specific page. Examples of this snippet would be: ( # hash marks indicate your Google+ account number)

<a href=""

 The challenge here is that placing that snippet does require access to THE CODE, which may not be your thing.  Fortunately, this is where the plugins or themes come into play.  Many updated SEO plugins (or themes with SEO features) will have a setting for you to use. For example, Yoast WordPress SEO  adds the setting in your profile for many of the social media platforms.  Go to your WordPress Profile and scroll down to the Contact Info section and see if you have a setting for Google+ wpress_gplus_setting

If you don’t see it there, don’t despair, your theme or SEO plugin may have that setting elsewhere. This is just the most common location.  If you still don’t see any place to add this setting, there are a number of plugins that are specific for this. One such plugin is Author Sure. Fortunately most of the major SEO plugins now add this setting.

Step Three – Adding link to Author Bios in WordPress

You may also add the Google+ snippet to the Author Bios.  To do this you need to either add a plugin so that WordPress does not strip out your code in the author bio, or use a plugin or theme that has a specific setting for that feature. The key here is that the setting will state that it is for adding a Google+ About link to the bio.

A plugin for adding the bio code snippet is Allow REL= and HTML in Author Bios.  (There is a warning that this plugin has not been updated but we have tested it on 3.6 without any issues.)  After you install and activate this plugin, go back to your Profile and locate your Biographical Info section.  Under your bio paste that same code like this:

<br />
<a href=”” rel=”me”>My Google Profile+</a>

The “<br />” may not be needed in your case but it may be necessary to keep the link separate from your main bio text.

Another way to do this is to add the plugin Author Sure and it has a setting for this link in the bio section of your profile. Lastly, your theme or SEO plugin may have a specific place for this setting. 

 Step Four – Test Your Settings

Obviously you would like to make sure that everything is connected properly. To do that, go to the Google Structured Data Testing Tool and add the link to your blog or website on the URL tab:

Structured Data Tool

Click Preview and Google will go to your site and confirm your settings. You first will look at the Authorship Testing Result:

Strutured Data - Authorship

 Below that is the Authorship Email verification.  You can ignore this setting unless you choose to use the email verification option discussed above and your email is the same domain as the site. Next is the information about your Authorship Markup:

G+ Authorship Markup

The area highlighted in red is the confirmation of the basic settings.  It should basically look like this expect with your URLs. If your WordPress site does not have an author page then the basic URL pattern may be different.  Next the area highlighted in black just shows how many times that link is found on the page shown in the first red highlight.

At this point you should be good to go on your Authorship. I found this great troubleshooting infographic if you have any problems.

Authorship Flowchart  

You will see some other sections in the Structured Data Tool about Publishership. That will be covered in a separate post.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems with these instructions.



About John Moore

John Moore is the co-founder of SonicSpider, LLC in San Diego County, California. John is our head Internet developer, overseeing the direction of our technical services. He has been programming in a variety of languages for more than 25 years, first as the owner of the consulting and system architect/design company, Micro-Phyla Systems, which provided services to enterprise level companies, and then as a principle with SonicSpider LLC. SonicSpider has two primary divisions, SonicWebTech for programming, ecommerce solutions, and general web oriented technical assistance - and RightStart Websites, specializing in WordPress, which provide low cost web packages and website enhancements that can span your needs from "do it yourself" to "do it all for me". John is also a PayPal Certified Developer and has extensive experience with many payment gateway solutions.
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