Friday, August 19, 2011

Google Authorship with Blogger

In the last couple of weeks, I have taken an interest in Google's attempt to register authorship for articles published on the web. This initiative allows web authors to essentially claim ownership of a particular piece of content that they publish.

I think this a great way to recognize folks who are serious about the content they publish on the web and a way to help folks looking for good content to find it faster. I'm all in for that. Now, how to get it working?

Caution: This process is a bit fiddly using Blogger, which is ironic 'cause it's a Google web property, right? I have sent some feedback to the Googlers who will hopefully make this easier in the future. If you are not comfortable editing raw html, I recommend you wait until the "register my authorship" option (or whatever they call it) is implemented in Blogger. Also, the solution is not suitable for a multiple-author blog. Fair warning. If you manage to get it working in that scenario, please leave a comment as to how you accomplished it.

How to Plug into Authorship with Blogger

There are a few steps you need to complete to get authorship set up:
  1. Setup a Google Profile (you don't have to be on Google+ to do this). If you are on Blogger, you probably already have one.
  2. Add your Blogger site to your Links list. Make sure you:
    • Click the This page is specifically about me option.
    • Set the visibility of the Links list to Anyone on the web.
  3. For each page of your blog, make sure there is a link to your Google Profile, and make sure the anchor text starts or ends with "+". (See specific instructions for Blogger in the next section.)
  4. Test your implementation using this page.
  5. Fill out this form for the Googlers.
  6. Wait.
  7. Wait.
  8. Wait some more.
  9. Obsessively run Google searches on your blog posts.
  10. Finally see your mug next to a search result, declare success and drink a celebratory beverage of your choice.

Add a Google+ Profile Link to Your Blogger Byline

Here's how I changed my byline to include a link to my Google+ profile. You have to manually edit your Blogger template to do this.
  1. Log into Blogger
  2. Go to your blog dashboard and click Design > Edit HTML)
  3. In the Edit HTML page, go down to the Edit Template section and make sure you click on the Expand Widget Templates option on the top right of the edit box.
  4. In the edit box, find the section containing a div with class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'
  5. Wrap the <> tag with an "a" tag containing a url to your Google Profile, followed by "?rel=author":
        <div class='post-footer'>
        <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'><span class='post-author vcard'>
            <b:if cond='data:top.showAuthor'>
              <span class='fn'>
                <a href=''>
          </span> <span class='post-timestamp'>
  6. Also, you need to put a "+" at the beginning or end of the anchor text for Google to accept this as a valid author reference. (No, that "+" is not a typo; It's required.)

Props to the Kevin & Amanda blog for providing the blogger signature template tips that lead to this solution.

Further Thoughts

As a writer, I think this a great initiative for content producers to get credit for their contributions to the sea of knowledge that is the interweb. I think it also has the potential to help folks looking for information to sort out the real sources of information from the increasing numbers of republishers, SEO hackers and link farmers out there.

If that describes you, then hey, I realize we all need to make a living, but ask yourselves; are you actually contributing any new value to this great interweb thing we all share? If not, then maybe it's time to rethink your strategy.

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