Google recently announced highlighting authors in Google search results. It means you can get your headshot to appear next to search results for some pages. Since few photographers will add this functionality to their websites, it’s an easy way to get your search result to stand out among the crowd of competition. Plus, it adds a personalized element – very important for service products like photography where searchers instantly want to know who they are going to hire. Here’s what I’m talking about.
To set everything up you need to link your site to your Google Plus account and vice versa. When linking from your site, a special “rel” tag needs to be added to link. This post explains how to do everything in more detail so you can look like this:
Step 1 – Create a Google Account
You need to be on Google+ (plus.google.com) to make this work, so head on over and create your account.
Step 2 – Link to Author Page from Google+
While logged in to Google, click your name that appears in the top right of any Google page, then choose Profile.
Click the edit profile button for Google Plus
Click the links section and add a link to your author page from your blog. The author page is a page that lists all your blog posts like this http://photographywebmarketing.com/author/zachprez/. You can probably just replace my username “zachprez” with your WordPress login username. If your username is Admin, now would be a great time to update that (click Users from the left side of your WordPress Dashboard). Don’t forget to check the box “This page is specifically about me.”
Step 3 – Link to Google+ from Your About Page
Your photography website must link back to your Google+ page. I recommend adding a basic link from the text on your About Page. Everyone has a short URL for Google+. Mine is plus.google.com/zachprez. I heard you can just use your gmail username to automatically generate your short plus.google.com URL (it works for me) but I have seen it not work for some others.
Also consider adding links to Google Plus pages from bios at the end of blog posts. Since Google strips out the rel=”me” tag you would normally add manually, follow the steps in this article: How to allow authors to add rel=”me” to links in their bio’s
Step 4 – Add rel=”me” in Links on Your Site
Add a rel=”me” attribute within the link to your About page. Example <a href=”/about.html” rel=”me”>About Me</a>.
WordPress users can do this manually from the body of a page, but if you want to get rel=”me” into the top navigation link of your blog without hacking your blog code, read this article by Yoast: How to add rel=”author” to a link in your menu
If you have multiple authors for your blog, you can define each author via it’s WordPress author page. What is the author page? On some blogs (like mine) there is a byline below the post headline that links to all posts written by that author. The latest version of WordPress automatically adds rel=”author” in links that point to the author page. If you look at the source code you can find the rel attribute already there.
Step 5 – Preview Your Search Result
If everything went to plan, you should see your headshot appear next to search result when you test a blog post URL in the Google Rich Snippet Tool.
Not sure how long it will take to see your face in actual search results. Google says they are in pilot mode still, but I would expect this roll out to everyone in the near future.