Getting found in the vast ocean that is Google can be tricky. There certainly are a lot of factors, but if you want to make it to the top of the search results, authorship is an absolute must. Without it, some other party could easily steal your words since Google won't automatically recognize an author. Unless you play by their rules and use their tools, you could just disappear from the results page. As I write this post, I'm proud to say our website is coming in as the 3rd result on the first page for a popular search phrase, and the first thing we did with the onset of Penguin 2.1 was obtain Google Authorship.
Basically, what we're doing is linking a personal Gmail and Google Plus account to a website and connecting Google Plus to WordPress. Once linked, the photo attached to your Google accounts will show up next to your page link in the search results. It's important to use a good, hi-res pic since this will increase the chances of your site getting traffic, and that's really what it's all about!
Now it's time to verify the authorship with Google. There are two ways to do this. The first method is to use an email address that is on the same domain as your content (for our example, we would use an @austinwebanddesign.com email address). You'll want to make sure each page has a byline identifying the author (i.e. by Johnny Incaini). Next, visit http://plus.google.com/authorship and submit the email address. This address will appear in the "Contributor to" section of Google Plus.
If you don't have an email attached to the domain, you'll need to add all of your pages to Google Plus as a custom link. When you're logged into the Plus account of the author, go to "edit profile," click the "about" tab and scroll down until you see "add custom link." Make sure all of the pages of the site are added here. Then you'll need to add:
to all of your pages, creating a link to the author's Plus page ([profile_url] will need to be replaced with the author's Plus page url).
To link with WordPress, simply click on "users" from the dashboard. There will be a "Google+" line where you will simply enter the author's Plus page url.
Test your Google Authorship at:
It will most likely take a few days for any changes to take effect.
I'm very happy to be implementing Google Authorship along with the SEO we offer for our sites. It really can help boost your results ranking and protect your words from piracy. It may be just a part of a greater balancing act that is SEO, but it has become part of the foundation.