Noticed that the JetPack 2.5 plugin for WordPress now adds Google Authorship to WordPress posts. Interesting, but what is Google Authorship?
Turns out Google Authorship is the cool stuff that highlights your post in Google search results like this:
That is neat, indeed. You need a Google+ profile for this to work, and must associate your blog with Google+ and vice versa. Pretty straightforward.
In the process I also discovered Google’s Structured Data Testing tool. Structured data is a way of marking up data in terms of what it is. For instance: while HTML will markup this post with heading and paragraph tags, there’s no way for Google to know what the post title is, what the body is, and so on. That’s where structured data comes in. Using a standard format I can markup this post specifying what each of its elements is, and that way Google has a better understanding of the post and can use it when showing excerpts etc (as in the screenshot above). You can read more about structured data and the supported markup languages here – the tl; dr version is that Google recommends a markup language called Microdata and that uses attributed in standard HTML tags to markup a post.
There are many WordPress plugins that do the marking up for you. I went with one called Itemprop WP – it seemed to be simple and no-frills. This plugin only adds markup to the single post views though, so on the home page view with all the posts together there is no markup. The Atahualpa theme lets me add additional HTML within a post block anyways, so for the main page I manually added the following code to the FOOTER: Homepage and FOOTER: Multi Post Pages sections:
<meta itemprop="author" content="%author%">
I am using the
<meta> tag as I don’t want my name visible to users. It’s just meta information for search engines.