How to set up Google+ authorship

In yesterday’s post, we shared that making copies of other sites was a Very Bad Thing (™). Today, let’s look at how to establish authorship over your own content so that Google knows who is the authentic originator of the content you publish. Setting up authorship is vitally important – if you do it right, you are staking a claim over your content so that Google knows who the original author is, protecting your intellectual property. In turn, that tells Google to ignore or even penalize other websites that copy your content.

First and foremost, you’ll need a Google+ account for both yourself as a person and for your organization. Let’s go through the Google+ setup first.

Google+ Personal Profile

In your own profile (or your employees’ profiles), find the Contributes to section. Add in the website for your company or yourself that you’ll be writing for. Here, we can see my addition of SHIFT Communications:

Christopher Penn - Google+

Every person who contributes to the company website should do this step, as it grants some of the personal reputation of the authors to the corporate site. This means that if you have some popular authors on staff, their personal reputations will help improve your corporate website’s reputation.

Google+ Company Profile

Next, head over to your company’s Google+ page, and make sure the website is linked up there:

SHIFT Communications - Google+

Next, you’ll need to edit your website. If you’re using the WordPress content management system, then simply install the Yoast SEO plugin, turn it on, and follow the tutorial for getting it set up.

For Yoast/Wordpress Users

First, set up your Google Publisher page settings with your Google+ company page URL:

Titles & Metas ‹ SHIFT Communications PR Agency | Boston | New York | San Francisco — WordPress

Next, add each other’s Google+ profile in their user settings:

Profile ‹ SHIFT Communications PR Agency | Boston | New York | San Francisco — WordPress

That’s it! You’re done setting up authorship if you’re a Yoast/Wordpress user.

For Non-Wordpress Users

On your homepage, you’ll need to provide a publisher link in the header that links back to your Google+ company page:

This tells Google that your domain and your Google+ company page are related to each other.

Next, every time you publish a new blog post or page, make sure the author of that page has a link to their individual Google+ profile in their post so that Google knows they are contributing to the site (and passes some of their reputation to the company site):

Important: this step must be done for every blog post and page on your website.


If you’re not using a content management system like WordPress (with the SEO plugin) then setting this up can be an arduous task, but it’s absolutely essential if you want to protect your intellectual property from being used elsewhere without your permission and/or losing search value to someone else’s website for your content. Authorship also provides search bonuses to your SEO, so configuring it is not only good for protecting yourself, but promoting your company’s owned/branded media as well.

We hope this guide has been helpful! If you’d rather engage a firm to help you with the setup and other SEO tasks, please feel free to contact SHIFT today.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on February 21, 2013 in Search, SEO

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing; Marketo Corporation named him a Marketing Illuminator, and PR News nominated him as Social Media Person of the Year. Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s the author of the best-selling book Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

What @ginidietrich said ... though I had NONE of that set up. 


Quick Question: If someone guest posts on your blog, how do you assign THEIR Google+ authorship to a particular post (assuming they are not set up as a user in WP)? Or maybe the answer is to set them up as a user?



cspenn moderator

 @djwaldow  @ginidietrich So two things - first, yes, set them up as a user in your WP site. You don't have to give them any privileges or access, you can just configure it as a locked out user, then edit their author info in the user tab. After that, you ask them to add your site as a contributor on their G+ profile.

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