How to Add a Profile Image in Google Search Results
Back in September I mentioned I was attending my first food blogger conference, IFBC, here in Seattle. It was a fun experience and I learned some great tips on various aspects of blogging. There was one speaker session by Ian Lurie of Portent that really stood out to me. His presentation on the Future of Search was a little on the technical side, especially after being hungover on free wine from the night before. However, it had incredible tips on ways to take advantage of how Google shows its search results.
One of Ian's tips in particular was how to implement Google Authorship, or how to add your profile image in Google search results. I added this feature for this blog recently. If you are a blogger and are interested in setting this up for your own blog, I laid out the how-to steps below.
Why Google Authorship is Important
Because most people interact with the Internet visually, Google Authorship really gives you a boost when people search for stuff. For instance, look at the search example below:
Having a profile picture next to your link really grabs the attention of the user. Eye-catching search results means higher click-through rates. How high you might ask? This study by marketing company Catalyst found those links are clicked 150% more with Google Authorship, which is a nice benefit for bloggers wanting to grow their audience.
How to Add Your Picture in Google Search Results
Step 1: Setup a Google Plus Account
If you're not on Google Plus already, you will need to create Google Plus account. Managing another social media account might be burdensome, however this is Google's territory and you have to play by their rules.
Once your account is setup, you will need to add a headshot profile picture. Logos and other non-human face images won't be accepted.
Step 2: Add Your Blog to "Contributor To" Section
Edit your profile and add your blog to the "Contributor To" section. Click on "Add custom link" and input your blog's URL. Click "Save".
Step 3: Add rel="author" Tag to Your Blog Website
Add the following link somewhere in your website, like your in your header.php.
Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this:
It is important your link contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it's missing, Google won't be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile. The >Google< text at the end is optional though. You can put whatever you want in between the "> <", or leave out text entirely.
Step 4: Verify Your Google Authorship was Implemented
To see if you did all the steps correctly, visit the Structured Data Testing Tool link and test your URL. If Google can extract author data from your page, you should see something similar to what I have below.
- You have to be a little patient. It takes a few days for Google to re-index your website before your profile picture will start to show up in search results.
- Try to keep active with your Google Plus account. I noticed my profile picture disappeared for a while when I didn't post anything on my account for a few weeks.
- If your blog is on Wordpress, the Yoast SEO Plugin does a great job implementing the code for you. You just need to input your information and Google Plus profile URL into the appropriate fields.
- If you still have questions implementing this code onto your site, I found this YouTube video tutorial by Dahlian Lamy really helpful.