Ever since Google’s announcement of support for authorship markup back in 2011, savvy content creators have been pushing for its implementation on the sites they write for. In response, web developers everywhere began scrambling to set up rel=”author” correctly, often failing due to conflicting accounts of how to do it properly.

In order to encourage wider adoption of authorship markup, Google recently launched a much more user-friendly way to tie your web content to your identity on Google+. You don’t even need to know anything about HTML!  The catch? It only works if you have an email address which matches the domain your content lives on. In other words, if you write content for www.nj.com, you need an @nj.com email address for this method to work.

If you do have an email address like that, then connecting your content to your identity is simple! Here’s how:

What You’ll Need

  • A clear and recognizable headshot
  • Your domain-matching email address
  • A Google+ account

Getting Started

First, it’s important to note that in order for authorship to work, each page of web content you produce must show a byline containing your name. Most news and blog sites have this as a built-in feature.

Secondly, if you don’t have a Google+ account already, you need to make creating one your first priority. Head over to plus.google.com and do one of the following:

  1. Log in with credentials from an existing Google account (for example, if you use Gmail), or
  2. Create a totally new account by clicking the red “SIGN UP” button in the upper right-hand corner.

Regardless of which route you go, you’ll receive on-screen prompts to guide you through the process of setting up your Google+ account. The only thing you need to remember in terms of authorship is this: the name you use on the account MUST match the byline you use on your web content.


The Process

  1. Once you’ve created your Google+ account under the same name you use as your byline, update your profile picture to include a clear and recognizable headshot. Tempting as it may be to use a fun group shot or a picture of your cat, these won’t be recognized as valid headshots.
  2. Go to https://plus.google.com/authorship/ and, in the space provided, enter the email address that matches the domain your content is on.
  3. You’ll receive a verification email from Google+ at the email address you entered above. Click the big, red button that says Verify to complete the process.

That’s it! On your Google+ profile page, you should see that the site you write content for has been automatically added under the Contributor to section.

If you write for multiple sites and have multiple domain-matching email addresses, you can repeat the above process as necessary.

For those of you who don’t have email addresses that match the domain where your content is located, I’m afraid you’re still forced to do it the old-fashioned way. Still, in their quest to gather ever-more data, we can expect that Google will continue to streamline the authorship process. So even if you don’t have the power to implement authorship markup that ties you to your content now, it never hurts to prepare for the future–so go out there and create your Google+ profile today!