Google+ with Author and Rel Tags

Google+ has a powerful influence on Google rankings. Make sure that your site has your Author and Rel tags set up properly so you can fully maximize how well your content is ranked by Google. There are three critical steps to this.

STEP 1 - LINK ALL ARTICLES TO AN ABOUT ME PAGE
First, within your one site, make sure every single page you wrote has a link from that page to your "about you" page. Here is an example. I write the Low Carb site at BellaOnline.com. The main site page is here. Low Carb at BellaOnline. If you look, every page in that low carb area has a name at the top - Lisa Shea. In every case, the link that is used for that name looks like this:

<A HREF="http://www.bellaonline.com/about/lowcarb" class="editor" rel="author">Lisa Shea</A>

So every page links to my "about me" page. Every one of those links uses a "rel="author" tag on it.

It's important to note that this first step involves content ALL WITHIN A SINGLE SITE. So this works for all BellaOnline content - but I should not link anything from OFF of BellaOnline to that "about me" page. This is solely about content within one site.

So far, so good. This linking to an "about me" should be already being done at any website, So the only update is to make sure the rel="author" tag is on all of those links.

STEP 2 - LINK THAT ONE ABOUT ME PAGE TO GOOGLE+
Next, you want that central "about me" page to link to your Google + account. This lets Google+ know that you the author at BellaOnline (or wherever) and the Google+ author are the same person. So on that one About Me page, you want to have a link going out to your Google+ account. It should look like this:

+Lisa Shea

The code looks like this:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/109263407720411193859/about?rel=author">+Lisa Shea</A>

So the link is your normal link to your author page, with an ending of /about?rel=author tagged onto the end. For your name - i.e. the text that is actually being displayed and linked - use your normal name with a plus (+) in front of it.

If you go to my About Me at the Low Carb Site page you'll see this link above my comment box.

STEP 3 - LINK GOOGLE+ TO YOUR ABOUT ME PAGE
Now to complete the loop. Go to your Google+ page. First, make sure that the pages you choose to +1 are visible to the public. So edit your profile. Right beneath your main banner, click on the +1 button and check "show this tab on your profile". Save that.

On the profile "about" page, scroll down to the bottom. There's an area there for "Contributor To". List all the sites you write for here. That way Google+ knows this author page matches with those authors. Note that the entry screen is a little confusing. It gives you two blank spots one on top of each other. The top one is for the NAME of your site and the lower one is the LINK to your site. Remember to link to your "about me" page.

TEST IT OUT
Google provides a testing tool to help you ensure you've done things properly -

Google Testing Tool

You would want to put an article into this test, to make sure it knows all the details from that article.

Here's a test of one of my articles, to show that it now validates.

Google+ with Author and Rel Tags

You can see on that report the URL and title of my article. You can then see that it knows about the site-level author page - i.e. the BellaOnline "about me" page. You then see that it knows about the matching Google+ page and the Author name. Everything is connected, and it verifies.

What if it Doesn't Verify?
I thought I should include an example of what happens if you forget a step, so you know how to fix it. Let's say every page on your entire site already has an "About Me" link to your "About Me" page. For example, if you scroll down a bit on this page, you'll see I have a link to my Lisa Shea "about me" page at the bottom of my footer. And, yes, my About Me page does properly link to my Google+ profile.

But what would happen if I never bothered to go into my Google+ account and link my Google+ account to this About Me page here on my Lisa Shea website?

If I tried to do the verification, it would fail. The error would say:

We could not find a link from the Other profiles or Contributor to section of your Google Profile to verify this page.

Here is the image:

Google+ with Author and Rel Tags

So if you get that error, remember to log into your Google+ account and fill in that contributor area, so Google+ knows what sites you contribute to.

Google+ Best Practices
Google+ Basics
Benefits of Google+
Google+ with Author and Rel Tags
Google+ and Google Maps
Testing Google+ Search Results
Setting Up a Google+ Fan / Business Page
Authorship on a Google+ Business Page


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