Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Google: How to get your photo to show up in Google search results

A number of readers have noticed that whenever a post from this blog shows up in Google’s search results, Google displays a photo of me next to it (see above).  People are emailing me more and more, asking how I did it, so here goes.

I need to start by saying that I didn’t do it. Google did! This is really important. Even if you follow the steps in the guide I am about to share, there’s no guarantee it will work for you. According to Google:

This feature is being rolled out gradually, and ranking will be implemented algorithmically, so author information will not always display in search results.

So, this may or may not work for you. Currently, I know just a few bloggers other than myself who has had the feature activated by Google. Every other example I see comes from huge sites like mashable and a-list bloggers like Robert Scoble.

Why are Google attaching “author information” to Google search results?

There is a huge issue right now, with people stealing other people’s content and claiming it as their own. Thanks to this new author information service from Google, it will be easier for people to identify the initial or original source of a blog post or article. In essence, when you see that photo show up in your search results, it means Google are verifying that the blog post was written by that person.

If you look closely at the image above, you will see that next to my photo are the words “by Jim Connolly.” If you then click on my name in the search results, it takes you to my Google+ Profile. By the way, you can join me on Google+ here!

For bloggers like myself, whose content is used without attribution on lots of other sites, this author information allows people to find the original source. Within minutes of my posts being published here, they start appearing on other blogs; something known as content scraping.  This is an effort by Google, to help match the correct blogger (or author as they call us) to the correct post. Most of my posts are scraped around a dozen times, meaning there are lots of versions of my work out there, often attributed to people who simply scraped them.

How does Google Authoring work?

The idea is actually extremely simple. You link from your blog (or your website), to your Google Profile and then, you link from your Google Profile back to your blog. This reciprocal linking verifies that the owner of that Google Profile is also the (or an) author on that blog. If you own a multi authored blog it works too. You just need your bloggers to link from their Google Profile, to their author page on your blog. Once that process is completed, a circle is created, allowing Google to confidently identity you as the rightful author of your own work, in their search results.

Whilst the idea is extremely simple, the process is currently a little tricky. Rather than try and explain it here, I’d like you to read the instructions from Google, which I followed. I also recommend you watch the short video on that page.

Then what?

Once you have followed the instructions, check that you have done it correctly using Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool. This tool is extremely useful and will show you if the code is working and what your blog’s listing will look like in Google’s SERPS (search engine results page), AFTER they have activated it. To use the Rich Snippets Testing Tool, simply paste the URL (address) of one of your blog posts into it and press the preview button. It’s that simple.

Then, if everything looks OK and you see your photo in the preview, it’s a matter of waiting!

Sadly, I don’t know people at Google who can fast-track your site and I am not the guy to help you if you try this and find it doesn’t work; so please, no technical questions in the comments. I just followed the instructions and it worked for me.

Is it worth it?

Yes. It’s useful for people to know that they are reading something, where there is a verified connection between the author and the content. I have also seen a significant increase in Google search traffic since the author information was activated. This makes sense as anyone searching Google, who knows who I am, will see my photo next to a search result and be more likely to click it. Photo’s act a lot faster than text and give an immediate signal.

I applaud Google’s work in helping bloggers to be credited with authorship of their own work. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces staring at me when I’m next searching!

For more useful tips and ideas, simply click here and get future updates delivered to your inbox!

About Jim Connolly: I help small business owners grow their business, make more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.

62 Comments

  1. Anything which helps cut down on content scraping and gives proper attribution to the original author has to be a good thing. Author pictures in the SERPS are a nice bonus.

    Thanks for sharing this tip Jim.

  2. John Paul Hughes

    September 28, 2011 at 21:29

    Thank you for this. I have seen bloggers from RRW with photos on their google SERPS and then noticed you had it too a few days back.

    For what its worth you seem to think you’re not an A-list blogger and I disagree. This is why google’s applied it to your blog.

    Thanks Jim

    • Hi John Paul. Sadly, there’s no link between how popular a blog or blogger is and when the process works.

      Duct Tape Marketing is one of the biggest marketing blogs in the world. They have applied the changes and not been verified. The blogger I know who has been picked up gets a minute fraction of their traffic.

  3. I found that after my face started showing up in Google SERPS that I was getting as many as 100 extra visits from Google a day! Not sure if the two things were connected though. I’ve selected my blog post about it from CommentLuv below. Perfect post about this, Jim.

    • Hi Rob. I’ve seen a significant increase in volume and quality of search traffic from Google.

      Primarily, I like that this helps readers find the original source of work. Everything else for me, is a bonus.

  4. It is a really nice feature. I don’t understand how this might work on sites that have multiple authors.

  5. Thanks for sharing this info, and in such great details. I’ve implemented.

  6. i will give a try to it, it seems to be very useful to increase the traffic of my blog. people must find it more personal, if they see the pic of the author in the search list, and it is a great thing to get connected so easily with the blogger. thanks for posting it, the process doesn’t seem to be very difficult, i hope it will work for me, too.

  7. I have added the codes to my blog both the “rel=me” and “rel=author” tags, I hope it works.

  8. I checked out the Google Author Information link. The directions were not exactly clear. So glad you told us about the Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

  9. Surprise…surprise…doesn’t seem to be working for me! LOL

  10. Thanks for sharing this information.
    We have been trying to work out how to get it to work for us consistently as sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. This explains why.

    Will definitely bookmark your blog for other great tips like this.

    Thanks

    Chris and Susan

  11. Thanks for the tip, Jim
    I’ve implemented it and the testing tool indicates it works for most of my sites. One is a wiki and I’m having difficulty finding the right markup to use, but apart from that all seems OK.

    We’ll just have to wait and see now.

  12. The instructions say only those who upload clear headshots of themselves are eligible for this – and that leaves a problem for those who are perfectly genuine bloggers but who don’t want their faces on the internet. There’s a similar problem with Google+ which does not accept pseudonyms.

    The odd thing is, if I were prepared to be dishonest and associate my name with a picture that isn’t of me, I would appear on the list of ‘verified’ bloggers and have my work properly associated with my name – but because I prefer to have a drawing rather than my face . . . I’m excluded. It’s a bit annoying!

  13. Thanks for the tip. I just tried it out. Curios to see if it works and how long it takes.

  14. Thanks for sharing this.
    I used email verification way, which I felt was very easy.

  15. Hey Jim
    I have followed your advice, love the profile pics rather than graphics/drawings and I sure will be celebrating when this works for me!

  16. Thank you, this has been puzzling me for months. Great instructions, I hope they accept me.

  17. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the insight in how to do this. I just followed your instructions and tested using the Rich Snippets tool and it seems to be working. I also found this form which might speed the head-shot being incorporated in the SERPs: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/request.py?&contact_type=rich_snippets_feedback

    Thanks,
    Ash.

  18. Hi Jim! Great technique you have shared here. I have a new blog and I will follow your tips. I hope it works for me. Thank you for sharing.

  19. After how many days Google will publish my picture with my website in SERP, also if I upload my website’s logo in my profile picture instead of my own picture then Google will show my website’s logo or not ?
    and thanks a bunch for sharing.

    • Hi M.

      Not only does no one (outside Google) know when your photo will turn up, they can’t even say IF it will happen. I now a lot of people, who have done everything correctly, who have not had their image show up in search yet.

      The photo Google uses, is the photo associated with your Google profile.

      Hope that helps.

  20. Adrian La Fosse

    May 10, 2012 at 04:33

    Do does anybody know of a provider I can pay to make sure this is done correctly? Thanks, Adrian

  21. Very Helpful Jim!

    This article was all I needed to get on track.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Best regards,

    Alan

  22. Good evening, Mr Connolly!

    Thank you for showing the way, but I fear the googlebots won’t be making anyone look at my mugshot any time in the near future. It was soooo scary even the preview refused to show it!

    Oh well, perhaps anonymity is the best place for me after all….

    Kind regards,
    L

  23. Thanks for the information. Just wondering…
    Is there a difference between Google Followers and Google plus ones?

    Regards,
    Michael.

  24. Hi Jim,
    I read somewhere that if there is an author photograph with one of the search results, then it is bound to have a higher click through rate. So for the sole purpose of testing that if this claim was true or not, I thought I should put my pic too but had no idea about how to do it. Thanks a lot for the instructions.

    Best wishes,
    Anirudh Bahadur

  25. Hello Jim. Great post – delighted to stumble across your blog.

    I followed the email verification method last week and my photo is already showing up – yikes! My website is tiny so, as you indicated, there doesn’t seem to be any way to ‘reason why’ some show and some don’t. Thanks for the great information.

  26. hi,,,
    i have to publish my pic and name on google…..

  27. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the info!

  28. Hi Jim,

    I enabled Google Authorship a couple of months ago and now I see my picture along with my posts shown on the search results pages.

    It also has helped (I guess) in getting Site Links enabled for my website though I am not sure if it helped in traffic or not.

    However, I wondered,how do we make Google to show our pictures on the right side of the search results as it shows for some of the celebrities when we search on their names. Any ideas?

    • Hi Kumar. I believe the information on the right is triggered, when there is a wikipedia page about the person / subject.

      Hope that helps.

  29. I have seen many sites having their photo beside their search results on Google. Recently I did a random search for “Miami Attorneys” and their was a photo beside the Google Places listing. I have not seen that before. Is it the same process that you described above?

    • Hi Emmett. When you click the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button on Google, it takes you to the top ranked site for that search term. It’s not related to this subject of this post.

      Hope that helps.

  30. Thanks for your help. I’ve been wondering how to do this.

  31. Jim thanks for the great article on this subject! It took me 4 articles, but your article is what I needed to make it work.

    Cody

  32. Thanks for this nice work. I’m going to apply this things to my website to show my photo

  33. Great Help Jim! Thanks

  34. ThanQ for sharing this useful post among us. I wanted to know about this for one month ago. Now at last your post helped me very much.

  35. Nice one Jim. I did the same myself a few weeks ago and noticed the photo showing almost immediately – even on some of the ‘places’ results.

  36. Thanks for your post. It has been very useful. I could set it up correctly.

  37. Thank you for the tips. I will give it a try. Also know when I did the my search your picture and blog was on first page and is why I clicked on it. It was also very helpful.

  38. Wow, thanks so much! I’ve tried this many times and I’ve never really gotten it right for some reason. After reading your article, I again tried the Rich Snippets Tool (Structured Data Testing Tool) and now authorship has been verified. We wait now to see if the image shows up in Google. Thanks!

  39. Thanks for that, just done it all, now waiting. Thanks for the info. Lee

  40. I have articles and recipes published on line via Hub Pages. Will this work from Hub Pages? I read your article and it was very informative, thank you. I am not quite sure, though, where to go to insert my Google+ profile info into my Hub Pages info. I do not know how to find the HTML code in order to modify it.

  41. Hi,
    Thanks so much for sharing this information, I have completed the set up task, and it works. I am sure this will improve my readership of my blog in the future.

    Thanks again.

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