With the addition of Google social search, it’s become more relevant than ever to have author tags setup. They will allow YOUR photograph to be displayed next to your search results, which will make them stand, and (if you don’t look like caveman Bob) ignite a sense of trust in searchers. On top of this, you’ll have the opportunity to build your brand around your friendly face and build a sense of trust and consistency in your writings. People who like one of your scripts will come back for another more easily, having paired your work with a face.

Search Plus Your World with Google

Search Plus Your World with Google

With WordPress, there are a few steps to complete in order to take advantage of this great feature, but it’s really not that difficult. You should have some idea about template customization in WordPress and the bare minimum of PHP before moving forward. Before I move forward, let me shout out to yoast for guiding me with an excellent article.

Onto how:

Start by checking with the google rich snippets tool to see if your website has the rel author tag going for it. Keep this page open in tab, because you’ll be returning to it often. In fact, just remember to keep trying it over again after every couple of steps. The error messages that it provides are very helpful!

Next, open up your Google Plus profile (if you don’t have one, you must create it–and upload a great profile image, too!).

Go to the profile page and start editing.

If it’s a business page, make sure to include your website.

If it’s a personal page (which is probably better, because people want to see the image of a person in social search right now), then make sure that your website (or websites) is/are included in the “contribute to” section.

Now you have to link to the Google Plus profile page, and there are a few ways that you can do that. First, make sure that you copy the most simple version of the URL for the page.

Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool

Linking to Google Plus with Author=”rel”

Google Plus Profile Button

The simplest way to finish this business is to simply include a link somewhere on every page (that you want to appear with your profile image in search results) to the Google Plus profile, and include the rel=”author” attribute. Easier still is that you may use the Google profile button page to create a button for your site that links to your profile with the rel author tag included already.

Of course, it could be laborious including this link on every page that you want others to know that you authored, while avoiding its inclusion on pages that you wouldn’t (especially if you have multiple authors for the website). So,…

Utilizing the Built-in WordPress User System

Wordpress Users

There is a completely different way of implementing author rel that is a two-step process, basically:

  1. Create or utilized an existing bio/about/author page for each author somewhere on the website and include a link to that person’s Google Plus profile with the rel=”me” attribute in it (not the rel=”author” attribute).
  2. For every page of content created by a person, include a link to their bio/about/author page with the rel=”author” attribute in it.
  3. Strange, I know (this is a hidden third step).

Step one:

In WordPress, step one is made somewhat easy because every user, by default, will have their own bio page. Now, all that you need to do is include a link in their “Biographical Info” to their Google Plus page including the rel=”me” attribute. The catch: even in WordPress 3.3, the rel tag is stripped by default. Try to include it, “update profile,” and look at it again. It’s gone. In order to be able to include this attribute, you’ll have to edit the functions.php file in the main template folder. Just add this code to the bottom of it.


function allow_rels() {
global $allowedtags;
$allowedtags['a']['rel'] = array ();
add_action( ‘wp_loaded’, ‘allow_rels’ );


Now, go back, and include the rel in the link of the biographical info.

Excellent. Step 1 is complete. Now for step 2:

If you have a good browser with firebug or an equivalent installed, then inspect the link element of the author’s name on one of their blog posts on the front end of the website. You’ll notice its unique class name of “url fn n.”You’ll also notice that it has no rel=”author” attribute. We need to add that. To do this, we’ll make a small change in the functions.php and author.php files.

In the functions.php file, search (without quotes) for “url fn n.” Right before the class attribute, add “rel=”author” ” (in PHP, make sure that you are using single and double quotes appropriately–it should be double quotes around “author” here).

In the author.php file, search (without quotes) for “url fn n.” Right before the class attribute, add “rel=’author’ ” (here, you should use single quotes around ‘author’).

Making these simple changes in step two will affect all authors.

Rel Author WordPress

Adding Authorship to Pages

To apply authorship to pages as well as posts using the above method, simply include the following code on the page template(s) that you are using:


<?php twentyten_posted_on(); ?>


This applies the WordPress default, at least, of the the date and author. If you’d like a more customizable option, such as including only the author’s name, then you could add the following code:


<?php printf( “<a rel=’author’ class=’url fn n’ href=’” . get_author_posts_url( get_the_author_meta( ‘ID’ ) ) . “‘ title=’” . esc_attr( get_the_author() ) . “‘ rel=’me’>” . get_the_author() . “</a>” ); ?>


Using Multiple Google Plus profile Links on the Same Page

The Google Plus profile that is being me-linked to via the rel-authored-bio page is going to take presidence, even if you have other links on the website to other Google Plus pages that–and even if they include the rel=”author” attribute. You’ll have problems if you try to link to two pages on the same page using the “me” attribute, though. Then Google will not display either.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. Who else do you know who needs to know this? Share it with them below!