In May 2013, Peter Bui presented at the Sydney Joomla User Group on SEO, and talked about the benefits of improving your Google Author Rank.
Peter also talked about something called microdata, which I’d never heard of and wanted to know more about. Essentially microdata is a new way of tagging content which allows search engines and mobile devices show more relevant information. I watched Ruth Cheesley presentation at J and Beyond which was interesting and well worth a watch.
So when it came to setting up this site, I wanted to apply some of this knowledge and implement a link to my Google+ account to help my Google author rank and add some microdata while I’m at it. So I took a look at Ruth’s Google+ Authorship Plugin, but I’m a bit of a cheapskate and didn’t want to for out the £20 for this plugin, as I thought that was a bit too expensive. I noticed that this plugin was originally based on an adaptation of a plugin from DeConf, which is a free plugin, so I thought I’d take a look at that. Unfortunately this plugin didn’t actually work on Joomla 3 ( I got a bunch of errors), and when I took a look at the source code it was only adding the like to the Google author profile, it wasn’t actually adding the mircodata too. The other thing I didn’t like about this plugin was that it is a system plugin using onContentAfterDisplay and onAfterRender events, I thought that a content plugin using onContentPrepare would be more appropriate.
So I thought I give it a crack myself and write my own plugin. It was surprisingly simple to implement, so I thought I’d share so other people can benefit from this too. There will be a download link at the bottom of this article, but I thought I should explain a couple of things first.
Firstly make sure that “Show Author” is turn on in your article manage options.
Set this to show.
And make sure your menu item has “Show Author” set to “Use Global” or “Show”.
Make sure the Author Link plugin is installed and published.
In the Content – Author Link plugin, enter the url to your Google+ account in the Author URL option on the Basic Options tab, for example https://plus.google.com/111422413957991158446.
Now if you take a look at your article, it will turn the author’s name into a URL link, for example https://plus.google.com/111422413957991158446?rel=author. Note that you don’t need to put the ?rel=author.
And if you take a look at the source code, you will notice that in addition to the author link to google plus, also some mircodata is inserted to identify this as a person who is an author of this article.
Don’t forget to add your site to the Contributor to section on the about tab in your Google+ profile.
Obviously the limitation of this plugin is that it is currently going to replace every article author with the same Google author link, which is fine for a site like this where I am creating all the content, but it’s probably not going to be that great for sites with multiple authors. When I get some time I might create a component to match up the Joomla user accounts with their individual author link, rather than taking the approach of DeConf’s plugin that uses com_contacts to link these up. Leave me some feedback if you are looking for this kind of thing, it would be interesting to know what kind of solution you are interested in.
Download the Plugin
Joomla 2.5.x – 3.x: plg_content_authorlink.zip
Update 20/07/2013 - I've now written a better version of this plugin, which also integrates with a user profile plugin. Read about it and download via this link http://www.timplummer.com.au/5-google-author-link.html