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.
— Mike Arnesen (@Mike_Arnesen) September 17, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.