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Adding Google Authorship To Your WordPress Site

Facial recognition is a powerful marketing tool and authors, business owners, and bloggers alike are taking advantage of it. When searching Google, you have more than likely noticed that photos are now appearing next to some of the listed search results on the search engine results pages — and you may have even been influenced by those photos when deciding which link to click.

Getting YOUR Photo to Show Up

Adding your photo to Google’s search results can easily be accomplished in a few different ways with a WordPress site. In fact, the process is nearly identical using three of our favorite WordPress tools:


Setup a Google Plus (Google+) account, fill out the profile completely, upload your photo, and join a few communities, circles, etc. Heck, you can even circle Me, Jennifer, and Bourn Creative while you’re there.


Copy your profile link URL (from the browser window URL bar). Login to your WordPress site and view your User profile. Both Genesis based WordPress themes and the WordPress SEO plugin add a field under User Contact Info to paste/add your Google+ link.

Add Google+ Profile Link to Your WordPress User Profile


For Genesis sites, open the Genesis SEO settings and select which user profile you want the home page of the site assigned to.

  • For a single author site, it should be your profile
  • If you have a multi-author site like ours, you will need to decide who is the best person to have the site assigned to
Adding Google Authorship to Genesis WordPress Sites

For sites running the WordPress SEO plugin, head to the Titles & Metas settings page, then open the Home tab and select the user you want for your homepage. Unlike Genesis, with WordPress SEO you can also set a Google Publisher Page if you have a separate Google+ account for your business.

WordPress SEO Plugin Supporting Google Authorship


Connect your Google+ profile to your WordPress site. On your Google+ profile page, click on “About”, and near the bottom you will find a “Links” section where you can add a link to every site you have Google Authorship setup on.

Connect your Google+ profile to your WordPress site

GooglePlus Profile Linked to Image in Search Results


Getting your photo to show up in Google’s search results isn’t guaranteed after you implement these steps, but there are a few ways to test and see if you did everything correctly.

The first thing to check is to make sure your WordPress site is outputting the correct hidden HTML that Google needs. To check this you can view the source code of your website using any browser, and look for a line of code that looks like the sample below; but with your Google+ link.

Google+ HTML for Google Authorhip

Once you confirm that your site is outputting the right HTML, you can check your Google Plus connection by using Google’s Rich Snippets testing tool and test against any page on your site.

Google's Rich Snippets testing tool

If your test at the rich snippets testing tool work correctly, it should just be a matter of time before your photo begins to appear in Google’s search results and your website click-throughs from Google’s search engine results pages increase from the power of facial recognition.

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Comments & Feedback:Check out what others have to say about this post!

  1. Excellent instruction.

    When I tested on the rich snippets testing tool, it says that authorship is working BUT also says “Page does not contain publisher markup”.

    I don’t know what that means.

    Also, under “Extracted structured data” there are two warnings in red font:
    Warning: Missing required field “updated”.
    Warning: Missing required hCard “author”.

    Again, I don’t know what that means, and if there’s something more I need to do.

    Can you please help me out on this? Thanks in advance! Kaarina

    • The publisher markup data is an option that is available using WordPress SEO by Yoast and it allows you to set a company profile for Google+, along with the page/post author. If your site is only a single author blog with no company presence on Google+, I wouldn’t worry about it. The structured data testing tool the post references can be used to test other types of markup as well, but if your site isn’t using it I wouldn’t worry about this either.

      • Thanks so much for that:) Now, I don’t know how to have a “byline” appear at the bottom of each post, with a direct link Example: Kaarina Dillabough on Google+ as a live link. Is this something that will happen “automagically” now that I’ve got authorship, or is it something that needs to be manually done at the end of each post? (and if the latter, how does one do it?)

        Thanks again in advance for all your help! Kaarina

        • For something like that I would suggest using the Author Bio box at the end of a post like our site utilizes. If you theme doesn’t have Author Bio box support built in, there are a few plugins that can add this functionality-I don’t have a link so a little research may be required on your end. If you are running Genesis like we are, Author Bio support is available on your user profile screen.

  2. Thanks Jen – sending this post over to my VA right now to get it set up! I know for me when I see a photo of a person is makes a big difference in my thinking and action towards them. I notice this most in facebook – I get annoyed when someone puts their dog or other photo that’s not them in their profile pic! Let me see you!


  3. Thanks for this. Small businesses have the edge in my opinion for being able to establish that personal connection. And people buy products and services from people, not faceless companies. The more you can find ways to build rapport (and credibility) the more effective your marketing will be.

  4. Great step by step on doing this. I didn’t know how the picture got there! I’ll need to do a little switching to get over to this SEO plugin and make it happen. Thanks for always having the best cutting edge information!

    As Sherri said, this is a great marketing tool for our sites!

  5. This is fascinating Jennifer. It’s an interesting technique to leverage Google to create additional visibility for people searching online. I don’t use the Genesis theme, but I may have to check out the WordPress SEO Plugin.

  6. Hello Jennifer….
    I was thinking how people image also come in search engine result.Google does not show my,and I wonder I have also gravtar ,then why Google not showing my pic.Now I understand its Google+ profile picture.Thanks for really nice information.

  7. Thank you SO much for this post! I’ve been hearing about this thing and hadn’t had the time to even figure what it is, let alone set it up. I definitely pay more attention to the search results with photos, so I can’t wait to set this up Jen! :)

  8. Hi,

    I am trying to do step 4 Connect your Google+ profile to your WordPress site, but for the life of me I cannot find that tab you mentioned. I just tested with the rich snippet tool and the code is working but my profile does not list the site as a contributor, so I know this is the issue. Could you walk me through finding that tab for step 4?

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Looks like Google changed this up a little bit-I’ll need to update the post. If you view your Google+ profile and click on the “About” section link, you should see it when you scroll down the page.

  9. I’ve seen multiple sources telling me that I need to copy and paste my Google+ URL into my wordpress author profile, But every time I try to go to it, I can edit everything, except there is no Google+ spot and no place to leave the URL in it.

    How do I get my wordpress blog to give me an option to put my Google+ as part of the author profile?

  10. Thank you so much for this clear and easy post on adding Google Authorship! I tried about a dozen other sites to walk me through it and yours was the only one that worked from start to finish. It isn’t showing my face on Google searches yet and I hope it doesn’t take too long – but at least it is done correctly now!

  11. I’ve looked in several places for instructions on how to do this but yours is easily the best. So refreshing to read online something in proper English and (partly in consequence) so clear and ambiguous. I had a bit of trouble at the Rich Snippets Testing Tool stage because I hadn’t realized the “Contributor to” field (under Links in your Google+ profile) needed to have the URL of one of my webpages entered into it … just in case anyone comes up against the same glitch. Also, the Testing Tool itself might need a little perseverance if it doesn’t work at first. The point, however, stands: this post is a really useful piece of work, so thanks.

    • Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
      My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard
      work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

      • Jerry — Our best recommendation is to invest in managed WordPress Hosting at a company like WP Engine, where your site will be completely backed up automatically every day — and where they offer a guarantee against your site being hacked. We also recommend connecting with Sucuri Security.

  12. I run a multi-author website. How can I go about getting verified Google authorship for each one of the writers? Is it necessary for all of them to have a Google+ account?

    • Chetlan — Usually the settings for each author can be found in the user profile area. If your theme doesn’t support it, you may need to use a plugin. But each of your authors will also need to have Google+ profiles to connect their author profile to.

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