Google Authorship and Author Stats (How-to Video)

By Andy Crestodina

Ever wondered why people’s faces are appearing in Google search results? Have you wondered how you can get your own picture to appear there? It’s all about authors. It’s called Google Authorship, and it’s literally changing the face of search results. Google Authorship is measured through Author Stats, and it’s part of a patent called Agent Rank.

Google Authorship

This 10-minute video explains exactly how to get your picture into search results and how to measure the impact with Google Author Stats, including:

  • Step-by-step instructions for Google Authorship
  • Real-world examples of rich snippets
  • Measurement and analytics with Author Stats
  • Primary source: Interview with a Google engineer – Author reputation is not currently a search ranking factor
  • Primary source: Google Agent Rank patent – Google has patented the ability to use author reputation to affect search rankings

An illustration of the Two Link Method. A Google+ profile is a contributor to content on another website, and that content uses the rel=author attribute to refer back to the Google+ profile.

Recommended Approach: the Two Link Method

Author Stats: screen shot showing impressions, clicks, CTR and average position

A screenshot of Google Analytics that shows the impressions (18,000) and clicks (1,600) of a Kissmetrics post about Google Authorship.

A few things that are not mentioned in the video…

  • It may take a week or more before Google makes the connection and the profile picture appears in search results.
  • Google uses facial recognition software to make sure the picture in search results is an actual face. If you change your profile picture to a logo, Authorship will quit working.


  • KISSmetrics Google Authorship Article
    This is the one I referred to in the video. It includes step-by-step instructions and tips on troubleshooting.
  • Original Sagar Kamdar Interview (by Grant Crowell)
    When Grant told me he was writing this, I offered to help. He allowed me to submit some of my questions. But Grant was the one who reached out to Sagar. Well done!
  • Google Agent Rank Patent (patent number 7565358)
    This is the Agent Rank patent excerpt seen in the video: (It was on a blog post by A.J. Kohn where I first read this)
    Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.

We’ll keep this page updated as changes are made to Authorship and Author Stats. Subscribe to this blog to receive bi-weekly updates on all kinds of web marketing techniques.

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