Earlier in the year, Google came up with a new Meta tag for us that helped to promote our content as its “author” by using the rel=”firstname lastname” in our hyperlinks. You could go to Google News, type in author: Pat Marcello, for example, and would have come back with a list of stuff that I’ve published on the Web with that tagging. But for some odd reason, Google recently took that ability away from us. Some speculate it’s because the whole rel=”author” deal was being abused.
Yet, I think that linking your content to the appropriate author and connecting it to their Google+ profile is still a good thing to do. Not sure why, but I have this gut feeling that it means something to our BIG DOG. So, can’t hurt. You should definitely do it.
How it’s done, son…
If you’re writing in a blog, it’s simple to get this rel=”author” tag onto every post. If you don’t have an SEO plugin that automatically does this for you already, then you can search for “author META” in your blog’s “Add New” plugin area or go to WordPress.org/extend/plugins and do it the old-fashioned way. But the plugin, regardless of how you get it into your wp-content/plugins folder, it will add that author tag to every post you have ever made and to every post you will make in the future.
You also have an “author” page in your blog. Just click on your Name in any post you’ve made, and your author page will open for you. It’s a good idea to link from that page to your Google+ bio and vice versa.
The first thing you need to do is associate your Google+ profile with an email address, the same one you use in your blog or for the majority of your content, and you need to make it available to the public. So, go into your G+ profile, and edit that first.
Click on “Edit Profile,” while on your profile page, go down to “Email” enter the correct address, and be sure to make it available to the public. Then, Bob’s your uncle.
Next, you’ll need to link from your author page to G+. This may differ depending on the platform you’re using to blog, but with WordPress, you go to Appearance/Editor/Author.php page. About half way down, you’ll see:
The yellow highlighted information wasn’t there when I started.
I went to this page at Google to get the button code: http://www.google.com/webmasters/profilebutton/
And I added it in the position you see it above. I also added a regular hyperlink with rel=”me,” too. Some places/people say it needs to be the rel=”me” tag and Google says rel=author,” so just covering my bases.
When you’ve finished adding the code with your personal information (please change the code above so that it pertains to you and not me), go back to your Google+ profile and add a link to your author page. To do that, click “Edit profile” again, and in the “Contributor to” area on the right, add your author page link.
Don’t forget to add the rel=”author” tag to links to your content when ever you can, too. So, if you’re linking anchor text from your content on one site to content on another, use that tag. You can see instructions for that here.
Add the button to each post, too…
Another thing you can do is to add the G+ button to your single post pages, so that your G+ profile shows up on every post you make. That might help you to get more folks into your circles, and Google is looking at that, for sure. (Click on any title to any post in my blog, and you’ll see my G+ button. Join my circles and I’ll join yours!)
What folks who are ignoring Google + don’t understand is that this is one “experiment” that Google really wants to work out. Buzz failed. Wave failed, and well… They’re tying your search significance into what happens at Google+.
Make sure you’re involved, and why not? I like it better than Facebook and Twitter, to be honest. Maybe because it’s new, but I just like the clean look of it and I’ve vowed to keep spammers out of my stream. If you’ve added me to your circles and post ads for affiliate products to my stream too often? I’m sorry, but you’re goooonnneeee. I want to be your friend, not your target audience.
But that’s me. YMMV
Thanks to Elizabeth Jamieson, who commented on this post, I was referred to a very detailed explanation of how to get your author/Google+ relationship set up properly. I wasn’t quite so detailed here because I know that many of my readers aren’t code friendly, but if you are, I encourage you to visit Elizabeth’s post at: http://www.devonwebdesigners.com/3278/relauthor-step-by-step-for-wordpress/ She did a bang-up job of explaining for those of you who are more advanced.
But I also found out why my code wasn’t validating. When pointing back to your G+ page, use the rel=”me” attribute, rather and rel=”author” and it will work like a charm.