Author Rich Snippets for YouTube Video Content

YouTube Author Rich Snippets

We’re moving beyond text-based content; Google Authorship is now for YouTube videos as well! In this post, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about Author Rich Snippets for YouTube content.

The ability to get your picture in Google search results was the big thing last year. With the rollout of Google+, the world’s leading search engine started promoting a simple(r) way for people to link their online identity to their digital content. This lead to the rise of Author Rich Snippets!

A Wild Rich Snippet Appears!

I’ve been a huge proponent of using Google+ and setting up Author Rich Snippets, but up until now, I’d only seen them on traditional website content; that is, text-based web pages. Well, today I had my first sighting of a YouTube Author Rich Snippet.

It was amazing.

It was beautiful.

I wanted one.

Then, I wanted to help others get them, too. Enter this post.

I’m not sure how long Google has been providing Author Rich Snippets for YouTube results, but the earliest post I can find that mentions it is from May of this year. I’m honestly a little bummed that I’m this late to the party, but the SERPs don’t lie: the web doesn’t have content on actually setting this up!

How to Get Author Rich Snippets for Your YouTube Channel

This works exactly the way you’d think it does. If you need any background on the whole process, I’ve written a post on the subject previously that explains it in detail. After you’re up to speed on the Author Rich Snippet basics, you can hop right into setting them up for your YouTube channel.

Step 1: Link Your G+ to Your YouTube

The first thing you’ll need to do is head over to Google+ and add your YouTube channel as an “Other Profile”. Simply edit your profile and select “Other Profiles”. Add the URL of your YouTube channel and add a title. The implementations I’ve seen don’t indicate that Google requires any specific anchor text here, though it may be good to error on the side of caution.
Link Other Profiles for YouTube Author Rich Snippets

Step 2: Link Your YouTube Channel to Your G+

Now head over to your YouTube channel. Edit your channel and add a “custom link”. Enter your Google+ profile URL (without the /posts on the end) and label it as “Your Name on Google+”. Again, there’s no explicit guideline that says you need to use that anchor text, but I like to play it safe.

Add YouTube Link for Google Authorship

Note: If your YouTube channel uses the same email address as your Google+ profile. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO ANYTHING! Your name will already be a link with the proper markup. Further proof that Google+ is really pushing authorship hard.

YouTube Authorship is Preconfigured by Google!

Step 3: Verify with the Rich Snippet Testing Tool

Once you’ve gone through the first two steps, use Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool to verify that everything is linked up properly. You should now see your YouTube Author Rich Snippet in search in 2-3 days. Keep in mind though, that it’s entirely up to Google as to whether or not they actually display a rich snippet. We’ve also found here at SwellPath that you typically need 3-5 pieces of verified content before ARS will show up.

How it Works, If You’re Curious

It’s really quite simple because Google takes care of all the potentially confusing markup for you. What we’re essentially doing here is linking an online identity to pieces of video content. Your Google+ profile is your online ID; it tells Google who you are and is where all your content gets linked to. By adding your YouTube channel as an “other profile” on Google+, we’re letting Google know that you’re the person who created those videos. Behind the scenes , that “other profile” link to your YouTube channel has a rel=”me” attribute embedded in it, which is an explicit indicator to the engine that your G+ and YouTube profiles are the same person.

If it ended there, you could just point at anyone’s YouTube videos and steal authorship from them. Fortunately, Google requires a reciprocal linking system to verify authorship. To do that, we go to YouTube and add that custom link back to your Google+ profile (or your online ID card). That link has another rel=”me” attribute in it that essentially says, “the person represented by this YouTube channel is the same person as this Google+ identity”. If you look at any of your YouTube videos, you’ll see that in the “by channelname” link, YouTube embeds another rel=”author” link attribute that points to your channel. Since we’ve specified that the YouTube channel and Google+ profile represent the same person, all of your videos now point to your online identity.

How YouTube Author Rich Snippets Work

Closing Thoughts

Setting up YouTube Authorship is ridiculously simple and can give you extra visibility in search result, and that’s just for the present. I predict much bigger things in search in the near future that will make claiming YouTube Author Rich Snippets even more important. More on that soon.

Mike Arnesen

Mike Arnesen - Director of Analytics & Optimization

A diehard SEO and web analytics geek, Mike is the Director of Analytics & Optimization at SwellPath. He is also a board member at SEMpdx. Mike's fascination for search experience optimization, structured data and semantic markup, and web technology knows no bounds. Beyond geeking out with SEO and analytics, Mike is also a prolific blogger, speaker (MozCon, SemTechBiz, SEMpdx, SMX, State of Search Conference, etc.), and company culture advocate. When not in the office, Mike is spending time with his wife, enjoying the outdoors, or keeping up with inbound marketing news via mobile; most of the time, it's all three simultaneously.

Watch Mike talk about his role and life at SwellPath

78 Responses to “Author Rich Snippets for YouTube Video Content”

  1. Baptiste

    Authors, authors rich snippets everywhere!
    Maybe a good idea to link every content platform to a G+ page – but that’s stepping too much into Google’s game :-)

  2. comment optimiser le contenu des rich snippets

    […] je rapporte un article sur le sujet mais je ne l’ai pas encore testé. Néanmoins, Google automatiquement fait le lien […]

  3. Tips Tuesday is on iTunes

    […] I saw a post on SwellPath about Author Rich Snippets for YouTube Video Content. Author Rich Snippets include your G+ profile picture next to your post in search results and it […]

  4. Andy

    Thanks for the post, I just linked my account to YouTube and created a backlink from my channel. Is it like the site rich snippet… does it take a few days?

  5. Tammy Doriot

    If I use my channel for my business only, do I use my personal authorship G+ number so that I am the author and not my business?

  6. Scott Shubert

    I tried doing this and it says “invalid request” It will not allow me to add a link to a different Google Plus profile although I have never applied for or used a Google plus account using the email of the Youtube account.

    Is there any update on how to claim authorship of a Youtube account if your Google plus account has a different email address?

    • Mike Arnesen

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Google’s being very helpful in this regard. I think it will only work when you use the same email address for your Google+ profile (i.e. Authorship) as with your YouTube account. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but I think we’re stuck for now.

  7. Alice Cornelios

    Thanks mike for the post, all I thought that my Google+ account is in automatic sync with youtube since the big G had already bought the network. I just posted a video recently and saw my mug shot with it already in search engine where my video link is located. I did not even do anything at all.

  8. How to Produce Great Video Content without Spending a Fortune

    […] is a great article on how to easily set up rich snippets for your video […]


Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Get Our Newsletter

To keep up with the latest news from SwellPath on digital advertising, analytics, and SEO, sign up for our newsletter.