Writers Unblocked Blog

Author Rank: A Low-Tech Plugin for a High-Tech Solution

A blog post by Kathryn AragonKathryn Aragon Avatar

Last week I told you about a quick and easy way to set up authorshipon your website. I also told you why this is a necessary step for you as a content marketer.

Today, I want to tell you about a more techy solution that still doesn’t require you to get your hands dirty with PHP or other code.

If you have a WordPress website, hands down, this is your best solution for setting up Author Rank. So set aside an hour or two to optimize your site by setting up this stylish Author Rank solution.

Introducing the AuthorSure Plugin

AuthorSure was written specifically for WordPress sites by Russell and Elizabeth Jamieson of DIYWebmastery. It’s relatively easy. There’s tons of instructional materials on a free membership site. And while there’s no support, you probably won’t need it.

Sound good? Here’s what to do:

Go to Plugins > Add New. Search for “AuthorSure.” Download and activate.

Then go into Settings > AuthorSure to configure the plugin.

On this page are 5 sections:

  • Post settings. To decide where your author attribution goes on each blog post.
  • Archive settings. In case you want to include authorship on Category and Tag archive pages.
  • Home page settings. If you have a Google business page.
  • Author page settings. To set up your author page on your website.
  • Advanced settings. A work-around in case your author profile appears in the wrong place on your website.

First, set up your “author indicator.”

This tells WordPress where to put the link to your author page on your blog posts.

screenshot from plugin set-up

You have four options for setting up AuthorSure

I finally settled on the Footnote option because it prevented any errors with Google when I validated the page (more about that in a moment). Google likes the “updated by” attribution that this option provides. And if Google likes it, I tend to like it too.

Archive and home page settings

Since Google likes the “updated by” snippet, I opted to place it at the bottom of my archive pages. It’s small and inobtrusive, so there’s no harm in it.

I don’t have a Google+ business page, so I ignored this section.

Personalize your author page settings

I accepted the defaults initially, then tweaked them after I set everything up and saw how my author page looked.

The biggest issue is whether you want to talk about yourself in the first-person (I, we) or third-person (he, she). Make that decision based on how you plan to talk about yourself in your bio.

Most everything else, I went with the default settings.

Create your author profile

Here's where you add your Google+ URLGo to Users > Your Profile.

Notice that since you activated AuthorSure, you have extra options for your social media profiles, including a spot for your Google+ URL.

The whole point of Author Rank is to connect your website to Google+. And this is where that happens with the AuthorSure plugin. So enter the URL from your Google+ profile — and any other social media profiles you’d like to include on your author page.

Next, write a short bio in the “About Yourself” section. Standard practice is two paragraphs of one to two sentences each.

Just so you know, if you try to include hyperlinks, you will get a warning on your author page. You can perform a work-around, but you need to know code to do it. Here’s what my IT guy told me:

“From what I ascertain it’s a function that looks at URL’s in the author bio address to transform it into a no-follow link. What I did to fix it was bypass the function and have it return the exact same input it received.

Once your bio is done, save your changes by clicking the “Update Profile” button.

Check out your author page

You can view your author page athttp://www.yourURL.com/author/yourWordPressUserName.

Go there now and bask in your author glory — unless you have the Thesis theme. In which case, you may cringe at what you see. For some reason, the font size and alignment of the Thesis author page are terrible.

Fortunately, AuthorSure gives you a snippet of custom CSS to make it look better. Just copy and paste it into your Custom File Editor (under Thesis in the Admin panel).

The results will be something like this:

screen shot of author page

Your author page with AuthorSure

Connect your author profile to Google+

With AuthorSure configured, your website is now connected to Google+. The final step is to connect Google+ to your website.

(If you downloaded the Google Authorship Widget that I talked about in my last post, you already did this. Feel free to skip past this section.)

Here’s how to do it:

On your Google+ profile, click on your Profile icon and the Edit Profile button.

Set up Google+

Scroll down to the section called “Contributor To.” Click “Add custom link.”

Add the name of your blog or website. Below it, place the URL of your blog. Then save.

Verify that it’s working properly

It’s a good idea to verify a few of your Web pages or blog posts by pasting their URLs into the Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

Enter your URL. Click “Preview.” If all is well, you’ll get a rich snippet with your authorship verified by Google.

screen shot of rich snippet testing tool

Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool

How to make Author Rank work for you

The above steps will get you set up. But it’s important to remember that configuring a plugin won’t improve your Author Rank any more than buying Windex makes your windows clean.

Accept the fact that the digital marketplace is designed for interaction.

Plan on getting involved. Be present. Engage with your circles in Google+.

It’s through your social interactions that you gain Authority and Trust points from Google. And ultimately, that’s your best strategy for optimizing your site.

What are your feelings about Author Rank? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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