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UPDATE: Google Authorship is no longer supported in web search, so these steps no longer function. 

Here is a step by step guide to adding your Google + Plus profile image or photo to your Google SERPs (search engine results pages). Google calls them Rich Snippets. This guide assumes that you already have a website and have FTP access to the code of your site. If you do not have access, then complete Steps 1-3 and hire your website developer to handle the rest.

Step 1: Create a Google+ Account

If you already have a Gmail account, then you’re well on your way. Simply use this link and login with that account information. If you don’t have a Gmail account, that’s fine. Just create a new account using the link below:‎

Step 2: Edit Your Profile

  1. Login to your Google Profile:
  2. Click Edit profile.
  3. Click the Contributor To section on the right (depending on how many photos you have, you may need to scroll to see this section), and then click Add custom link.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Make sure you have a good photo for your profile image. Google will verify that it’s a human face and not a logo, and will deny anything but faces. I was able to place a small logo in the corner and it was approved, so there is room for creativity.  Woop woooop! 

Step 3: Make sure your domain’s email address is listed in your profile.

  1. From your Google+ Profile, click Home in the left column and then select Settings.
  2. Under Notification Delivery, make sure an email address with your domain is listed (
  3. If not, add the email address and make sure you have access to it, as Google will send you a verification email.

Step 4: Connect Your Google+ Author Profile to Your Website

Login to your website via FTP and add this code to your homepage and any other page you’d like to connect, or have your web developer add the code. Just replace [profile_url] with the full path of your Google+ profile page.

<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

It will end up looking something like this:

<a href="">Google</a>

If you’re using WordPress, you can instead install a plugin like All In One SEO Pack and add your Google profile URL to the settings.

Step 5: Author Name Needs to be on Each Webpage

The last step is that Google verifies that your byline appears on every page you purport to author. This may take some creativity if you’re connecting your profile to a business. So, for me, I needed to make sure that my byline, by Tom Lempner, was on my website’s homepage and each blog post that I wanted my Google+ profile pic to show up next to.

Step 6: Verify the Results

The last step is simply verifying that Google is in fact connecting all of these elements properly. This can be done using Google Webmaster Tools’ Structured Data Testing Tool:

Once on this page, simply enter the full URL of your website and click Preview. Then look to see if the results look right and to make sure there are no red warnings.

Then, enter your full Google+ Profile URL in the Authorship Email Verification field and click Verify Authorship. If you see green, you’re good to go. Red text means something isn’t quite right.

Copyright 2013 by Tom Lempner and Radiant Design.

Radiant Design

Author Radiant Design

Tom Lempner is a website designer, website developer, graphic designer, audio engineer, musician, marketing expert and SEO professional based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Radiant Design

Cincinnati, OH
Dayton, OH