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Google’s “Rich Snippets” have revolutionized the way we receive information in our search results. These familiar “snippets” are those chunks of metadata that tell you about an author, a review score, and much more… all with that nice looking picture and spacing that separates the snippet from other search results…

For the sake of this article, I’m going to stick to just talking about “Author” Rich Snippets, and how you can set them up on your WordPress website.

Without a WordPress site, it will take some legwork and some coding, and that’s a whole other can of worms…

Important: Before you even dive into this, you should know that this whole process depends on some uniformity between your WordPress and Google accounts. Your name should be displayed the same way across all platforms – on your Google+ account, in your author info, etc.

Also, the email address associated with your WordPress administrator account should match the address you use to login to Google+

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Let’s get started:

Step 1: Setting Up Your Google+ Profile

To get Rich Snippets for posts you’ve authored, you have to have a Google+ profile set up. If you don’t have one, it’s pretty easy and straightforward to do – and chances are, Google reminds you every time you log into a Gmail or Google Apps email account…

Ok, so… assuming you have your Google+ account in place, the first thing to do is tell Google+ which blogs you contribute to. Navigate to your Google+ Profile page and click the “About” tab.

On the About page, navigate to the “Links” box and click on the “Edit” link at the bottom of the box.

Add any blogs that you contribute to here.

Important: make sure the “Contributor to” section is set to public. If you don’t, your Rich Snippets won’t be visible to others.

Step 2: Figuring Out Your Google+ Profile ID

Now you need to track down the URL of your Google+ profile ID. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t made this the simplest thing to do…

If you’re not using a vanity URL for your profile, then the URL in your address bar (when you’re on your profile page) is probably your ID URL…

It should look something like this:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/YOURGOOGLE+ID

For instance, mine is:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/114129564579283015172

If you’re using a custom profile URL or “vanity” link, you have to jump through a couple of hoops to get your ID URL…

On your profile dashboard, you should see the “Home” dropdown on the top left of the screen. Hover over the “Home” dropdown and mouse down to the “Profile” link. While hovering over the Profile link, right click and select “Copy Link Address.”

Now you have your Profile ID URL!

Go ahead and stash that ID URL for now. You’re going to need that again in just a little bit…

Step 3: Setting Up WordPress

If you use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin, there’s some built in functionality for Rich Snippets. This is by far one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress, and pretty convenient that it has Rich Snippet features built right in! Did I mention it’s free?

Once installed, the WordPress SEO plugin will add a Google+ input field to your WordPress “Edit My Profile” page. If you’re unsure how to get to your profile page, look to the top right of your screen for “Howdy, YOURNAME.”

Hover over it, and a dropdown will show up with the Edit My Profile link.

Now it’s time to grab that ID URL you stashed from earlier and enter it into the Google+ field. Save the changes.

Now on any blog post you make, the WordPress SEO plugin will insert some meta tag markup to your page’s HTML code.

Step 4: Testing For Results

You probably want to make sure everything is in working order…

Google actually offers an excellent tool for checking on the results of Rich Snippets:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Please note that it might take a couple of days for the crawlers to re-index your posts, and you might not see the Rich Snippets in in search results right away. This is perfectly normal – just be patient.

One More Thing to Keep In Mind

Not all WordPress themes and plugins are created equally…

Some may attempt to include Rich Snippets in their own way. If you can use those methods, great! Just make sure to test a few of your blog posts to confirm that the Rich Snippets are actually working before you pat yourself on the back…

We didn’t cover adding Google+ links to your articles… just the method for having Google recognize your authorship for Rich Snippets. Different WordPress themes will style “author boxes” differently, and your options are pretty endless…

If you need an author box, check out the Author Box Reloaded plugin.

Using Rich Snippets is another way to add authority and visibility to your blog posts, and give would be readers a glance at your bio as some extra enticement to click a link. Every little bit helps!

In your corner,

Charlie

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