Google Authorship for the Non-Coder
If this blog title caught your attention then, like me, you may be a decent writer but not much of a programmer. If you want your law firm’s Web presence to benefit from Google Authorship but aren’t tech-savvy enough to program code, what should you do? First, you may consider hiring a professional to manage your law firm’s website. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself attorney, there are three easy ways you can establish Google Authorship through the ‘rel=author’ attribute on your site.
In this post I’ll be grading three WordPress plugins, tested on my personal blog, that will allow you to easily connect Google Authorship to your law firm website. If you aren’t already using WordPress as your backend, you may consider making the switch. Using WordPress as your site’s backend will provide streamlined content management, as well as ease of design and programming.
You can easily find every plugin I mention using the “Plugins” tab on your WordPress Dashboard by clicking “Add New.” Simply type in the name of the plugin you want, search and install. After installing and activating any of these plugins on your site, you must ensure that your contributor sites are linked to your Google+ profile so Google will know the content your are claiming to be the author of.
What I really liked about AuthorSure is that it was automatically ready for editing in WordPress.
Even better, AuthorSure immediately appeared as an option to enable in my profile settings. From your profile settings, you can indicate that you want AuthorSure’s biography box to be included in the list of contributing authors on your blog.
If your WordPress theme already has an author bio box built in, make sure you disable it so your site will not display duplicate bios. To distinguish the difference, AuthorSure’s bio displays with the author’s name as a hyperlink.
AuthorSure allows a great amount of control over the plugin’s content. You can choose to verify authorship through a byline, FootNote, Author Box or Menu option. If you have further questions about which method of verification will be best for your law firm’s site, AuthorSure provides a thorough FAQs page – supplemented by screenshots – which I used extensively.
In addition to ease of usability and installation, I liked that AuthorSure automatically displays links to my other Social Media networks as a feature; in my WordPress theme these links appear along with my archive posts. When correctly installed, here’s an example how AuthorSure should look when presenting Social Media icons:
- Google Plus Authorship
Installing the Google Plus Authorship plugin was incredibly straightforward. Once I installed Google Plus Authorship, like AuthorSure, the plugin was automatically ready to enable under my user settings.
And voila! After two easy steps, my site was programmed with Google Authorship. Google Plus Authorship was, by far, the most uncomplicated plugin of the ones I tested. If you’re looking for a no-frills way to quickly establish the ‘rel=author’ markup on your law firm’s site, I think you’ll be satisfied with Google Plus Authorship.
- Author Box Reloaded
Initially, I had some trouble installing and using Author Box Reloaded. Once you activate Author Box Reloaded, you must also install and activate the WordPress Plugin Framework Reloaded to the plugin.
WordPress Plugin Framework Reloaded is, currently, still in testing phase. (You should always use caution when installing a plugin that is still in an alpha or beta phase.) Once both plugins are active, ensure that you’ve checked to enable Author Box on your user profile and archived posts.
Author Box Reloaded ultimately did give my site Google Authorship markup, but I was not pleased with the tricky additional steps required. Not only were the install steps unintuitive, any modifications to Author Box Reloaded – such as adding icon links to Social Media networks in my biography – were cumbersome.
To test if the plugin you’ve chosen has correctly installed the Google Authorship attribute on your website, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Simply preview your site’s url using the field provided. If the ‘rel=author’ attribute has been successfully established, your results should look like this:
You can also perform a Google search with your name and the name of one of the sites you contribute to, as linked on your Google+ profile, to test. If Google Authorship is working you should see your profile picture and a rich snippet of text. Do note that sometimes your author profile can take several days or weeks to appear in the search engine.
Of these three plugins, I found Google Plus Authorship to be the least complicated and, therefore, my favorite. I liked that this plugin only performed one function, establishing Google Authorship on my blog, and did it well. I would love to hear which plugin happened to be your favorite! And if you’re still wondering why Google Authorship should matter to your law firm, please see our earlier post on the subject.
Google has often said their main goal is to provide the best experience for their users. Your law firm’s site can become a great resource for visitors and prospective clients with the addition of well-written content that is visible in search engines.