Step 4: Grab your Google+ profile URL
In the next step you'll need to paste your G+ profile URL (the web address of your G+ profile) into your site, so we've gotta grab our URL.
Some people simply copy the URL in their address bar.
What I don't like about this method is that the URL isn't very clean. It's got extra stuff. For example, "posts" is added to the URL above. Sometimes I've copied and pasted it and I get this:
What I'd really like instead is this:
So, how do you get the second one without manually deleting things and risking a broken link? Easy peasy.
First, click the little down arrow to the right of your profile image at the top right of your screen.
In the dropdown menu, click the "Privacy" link.
On the next page, you'll see something like this:
Note the URL underneath your profile image. That's the nice, clean version. Highlight and copy.
You might also want to save this somewhere so you can find it quickly later, because whenever you reference your Google+ profile, this is the link you'll want to use. (Google is rolling out vanity URLs like Facebook so eventually we will all have something like google.com/+AmyLynnAndrews.).
Step 5: Connect your WordPress site to your Google+ profile
Now you have to make sure Google knows you are the author of your own site. This connection between your content and your Google+ profile is what ensures you are who you say you are and no one else can pretend to be you.
There are a couple of ways to do this, although I have a personal preference (this method assumes you are using WordPress):
If you're using Genesis (if you're not, skip down)
If you're using an updated version of Genesis for your theme (it's what I use), this could not be simpler. It's built right in.
From your Dashboard's left column, click on Users –> Your Profile. Scroll down until you see the appropriate spot for your Google+ URL and paste it in.
While you're here, you might consider changing your email address to the Gmail address your Google+ account is attached to. It's possible this might help give you an edge with Author Rank (although I'm not sure how much of an edge, if any).
Don't forget to click "Update Profile" at the bottom of the screen to save your changes!
If you're not using Genesis
My next recommendation would be to use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. There are other plugins you could use, but this is definitely my preference. If you do use the plugin, you will follow the same steps described above. First grab your G+ profile URL. Go to your WordPress Dashboard –> Users –> Your Profile and paste it into the G+ field.
If you've followed this blog for any length of time or if you saw my favorite plugins post, you may already be using it.
Not only is Yoast very knowledgeable and trustworthy, you'll also get the excellent SEO options he's worked into this one. Talk about killing several birds with one stone. I'm not a fan of plugins in general so the fewer I have to use, the better.
Step 6: Check your work
To verify you've done everything correctly, use the Structured Data Testing Tool (formerly known as the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool).
You should see something like this:
Green indicates everything is all good. (If you're having trouble, use the links in the left column for troubleshooting tips.)
Note that you won't necessarily see your picture immediately. And actually, the general consensus is that there are still hiccups in the system and it's still in the testing phase. I've noticed myself that my posts don't always show up with a picture. I'm not worried. I figure it'll eventually get smoothed out. The important thing is to get established now so you'll be ahead of the game when they do.
Stay tuned for a list of tips and best practices for Google+ and Author Rank. If you're new here, have I convinced you to subscribe yet?