Photography is personal. Your images are what they are because you took them. In short, you’re an author.
As you may know given the right information Google will highlight authors in it’s search results. The good news is you can make that happen for your PhotoShelter galleries by adding a snippet of code to your manually customized PhotoShelter pages (you will need to have access to your code) and tweaking a few simple settings. This is ideal for photojournalists of course but I think it is also helpful for non-press photographers.
I’m sure you have seen these little headshots popping up in search results. Notice the additional byline links? All this connects the search result to it’s author.
That matters because you want your content to stand out from other results, because it makes your results more recognizable as yours and because Google is developing “AuthorRank” which basically boosts content produced by well-received and popular “agents” in results.
An additional advantage of authorship details are the bonus links that appear when you click on a search result with authorship markup and then return to the search results after reading the article, Google will display three additional links below the result. Some people say it takes two minutes away from the search results for the links to appear once you return but in my experience it takes longer than that.
You should already have one (if nothing else, it’s a great directory to be listed in) but if you don’t, go ahead and sign up. It’s easy to do and totally free. Make sure that the image that you pick for your Google+ profile photo is recognizable and works well small as that is what will be used in the search results listings.
There are two ways to verify authorship of your content but only one will work for PhotoShelter galleries. Normally you would be able to link your content to your Google+ profile by verifying your email address but to do that you would need an email address with the same domain as the content page, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fortunately for non-PhotoShelter employees there is an alternative option: linking your content directly to your Google+ profile. Add a link to your Google Profile your gallery pages: Gallery Display and Gallery Image Display. Use your profile URL and name obviously:[html]images by <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/109561171699460530358" rel="author">David Brabyn</a>[/html]
rel=”author” tells Google that I’m the creator of the page. On my Gallery Display page I added “images by David Brabyn” after my image counter because I think it makes sense for a byline to appear there but you can add the link anywhere you want. On my Gallery Image Display pages I added it right after the caption.
Once you’ve linked your gallery to your Google Profile, go to your Google Profile and add your PhotoShelter archive URL to the contributor links section.
That’s it. Simple. Check what Google is seeing with their useful structured data testing tool (requires a Google Webmaster Tools account).
Of course you can link your portfolio and blog content in the same way. This time you probably have an email address with the same domain name as the URLs to those pages so you can simply verify your email address. You only need to do this once. Your email will appear in the Contributor to section of your Google+ profile.
Watch Google’s Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson discuss how to connect authors with their content using authorship markup: