Google Authorship + Drupal: Part One


Note: This is the first of two parts. This week, we’ll talk about Google Authorship and how it works. Next week, we’ll go into more depth on the Drupal side of things with a module overview and how-to.

Google Authorship allows a more visual connection between authors and their content in search results. It's a way to gain credibility, distinguish your content from other search listings and allow readers to connect with you. Check out a screenshot of a search result for one of our blog posts with authorship enabled.

Google Authorship has been billed as simple to implement, but I’ve found that there’s actually a lot of confusion about how to get it working. The problem may be that there are just too many ways to do it and everyone seems to be trying something different. Let’s clarify that process so you can choose an implementation that works best for your situation.

Part One: The Google Side of Things

When a web page is being indexed, three key things need to happen for Google to add Authorship to it’s search result listing. First, Google’s bots make note that the content has an author. Next, they look to see if that author is linked to a Google+ profile. Finally, they validate that the owner of that profile is an author on the site where the content is being indexed. This last step attempts to prevent people from falsely attributing work to an author, either accidentally or maliciously.

So, how do you help Google’s bots do their jobs? More specifically, how do you set your site up to give those bots the information that they need? Easy, there are two methods. The first method is to link the author's name directly to their Google+ profile page from a by-line. The other method is to link the author’s name to their bio page on your site and then link that bio page to their Google+ profile.

Method 1:

If you're linking straight to the author’s Google+ profile from the content itself, just add ?rel=author to the end of a link to their Google+ profile page in their by-line, like this:

[prism:markup] Author's Name [/prism:markup]

Method 2:

If you’re linking to the author’s on-site bio page and then to G+, use the rel=’author’ attribute in your link to the bio from the content, like this:

[prism:markup] By Author’s Name [/prism:markup]

Then, on the author’s bio page, you'll need to have a link to their Google+ profile with the rel="me" attribute like this:

[prism:markup] Author's Name [/prism:markup]

After you’ve set up the links, the loop needs to be closed by validating the author as a contributor to the site being indexed. If the author has an email with your domain, like, the author simply needs to log into Google with the account associated with that email address and enter that email address at If the email address is different and doesn’t have your domain name in it, the author will need to add your domain as one that they’re a contributor to on their Google+ profile.

To do that, the author needs to log in to their Google account and go to their profile page. From there, the author will need to head to the 'About' page.

After that, go to the 'Links' card.

The author will then need to click edit and add a custom link under the 'contributor to' section. Just entering should do it. Also, have the author ensure that the ‘contributor to’ section is set to 'Public.'

Finally, the author needs to ensure that their profile is public. To do that, the author should open the left sidebar by hovering on the G+ icon in the top right of the Google+ page. From there, the author needs to go to Settings > Profile > "Help others discover my profile in search results," and make sure that box is checked.

That’s it! With these things in place, you should be on your way to increasing your click-through rates and boosting the credibility of your site and it’s content. You can verify that Google Authorship information is visible and functioning by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. If you’re working with Drupal, don’t forget that there will be a second part to this post, going into detail on how to implement these methods the “Drupal Way.”