How to Use Google Authorship to Improve Your Local SEO Efforts

People like to hear from people—it’s as simple as that. Nobody wants to click on a Google result and see something that looks like it was written by a robot, and nobody wants to click on a result and see a bunch of ads and blue text and little content. Google understands this, which is part of the reason they created authorship markup. It’s a way for people to actually see a picture of the author, which helps solidify the fact that a real, single person actually wrote that particular search result. This then begs many different questions: How does a user know the author is really an expert, and how does a company get started using authorship in order to improve their clicks and Google ranking?

How Google Authorship Works and The Benefits of Getting Started

For those who are unfamiliar, author rank is essentially a way for a company website or blog to feature the authors of their content. A photo of the author will show up in a Google search engine result next to the actual result, which helps give Google results a more “human” and less robotic feel. Below is an example of a Google SERP with an authorship displayed:

 How to Use Google Authorship to Improve Your Local SEO Efforts

The above example shows first a result with Google authorship and the second one without. Not only is it appealing to users to see a face (wouldn’t you click on the first entry?), Google actually gives this face some credibility. As you can see, after the picture Google has the name of the author, how many people are in that author’s Google+ circles, and then a “more by” link. All three of these are links that take you to either the Google+ of that author or to a Google page with other articles written by that author. This gives the user so many different outlets to learn more about that author and what he/she has to say. Bottom line: It brings credibility to Google results and to your company.

How to Get Started with Google Authorship

Getting started with authorship markup is surprisingly easy. Simply follow these three steps and you should be good to go in less than five minutes:

Step #1: Verify your email address connected with your Google+ account.
You have to first make sure that you have a Google+ profile and a verified email address that is connected with your company. Simply go to your profile and click “edit,” and then insert your email address and click “verify.”  If you don’t have an email address associated to the domain where your content is being publish, you can go here and follow the alternate steps.

Step #2: Use the “Contributor To” section of your Google+ profile.
You then need to go to your profile and click on “edit profile.” Here you will be able to click on a “Contributor To” section that you will see on the left hand side. You then insert links to the homepages of websites where you have contributed articles in the past.

Step #3: Add in the authorship markup tag whenever you’re creating an author bio or guest posting on another blog.

You will want to make sure that you use the authorship markup tag for your name whenever you write an article. The tag looks like this:


So for example, if I were going to update my WordPress author bio for my site, my name would look like this:

Amanda DiSilvestro

You can visit the Structured Data Testing tool to make sure everything worked!

Has your company ever used Google authorship in order to improve your local SEO? When you’re searching on Google, do you find yourself more apt to click on a result that has an author’s photo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized local SEO company.


  1. SEO Houston on March 3rd, 2013 2:44 pm

    Great post! This is confusing to many people. I would like to add if anyone is using Yoast for SEO that this plugin sets up your authorship code for you so the only additional action is to put your blog in “contributor to” in G+. Yoast also sets up the rel=publisher which will show your G+ business page’s profile picture, similarly to the authorship. It is a real advantage!

    1. Amanda DiSilvestro on March 11th, 2013 11:25 pm

      Great tip–thanks so much!

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