The reason for this is that search results which display these type of markup often achieve a significantly higher click through rate as they attract more attention for various reasons.
Here’s an excellent guide to Google authorship markup which shows how you can increase CTR and boost your traffic.
Since June 7th 2011, Google has supported authorship markup which allows you to verify your ownership of your website url’s which you can read more about on their webmaster blog.
If you haven’t already learn’t about and applied this markup to your posts, you’re at a disadvantage.
Rich snippets have been displaying in the search results since 2009 and generally used for displaying small bits of information related to reviews about different products, events & recipes etc. This has now been expanded.
Example of rich snippet displaying star rating, reviews and product image.
SEOMoz have produced an excellent infographic explaining rich snippets visually which will help you understand more about the basics.
Rich Snippet Testing Tool
If you’ve added a plugin or used microformat schema markup to verify ownership of your content, you may want to test your sites url’s to make sure your posts have been attributed to you as the author.
If you don’t see your image next to the snippet in the search engines results pages, you can check your ownership by entering url’s of your website pages and posts using your Google+ profile url.
If you haven’t setup a profile pic on your author box correctly or haven’t setup a Google+ account yet, then i suggest you do this as well.
To check and verify your ownership you can use Google’s testing tool.
Step 1) Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
Step 2) Enter the url from a page or post you want to test which you have authored.
Step 3) After you’ve entered a url to a post you have authored, click the preview button. You’ll then see the snippet which is displayed in the search results.
Notice hows there’s no profile image next to the snippet.
Verifying ownership of your website pages and using an author profile images using any method does not guarantee that your profile will be shown in search results. Source Google
Example of Profile image shown in search engine results snippet
If you also want your snippets to display stars and reviews, you could install a review plugin which is microformat enabled and includes a star rating system.
Example of star rating displayed in search results snippet.
Step 4) You’ll notice under the snippet in the screenshot above, Extracted Author/Publisher for this page.
Below this you’ll find out if the content on the page of that url is attributed to you as an author.
If its not, enter the url of your Google+ profile to verify ownership
Step 5) Verification complete
This tool lets you manually test and verify ownership of your blogs posts.
[box type="info"]To automatically verify ownership of the blog posts you have authored, so you have a chance of displaying your rich snippets in Google’s search results, you need to set this up correctly using one of several methods, some of which i have already included.[/box]
Rich Snippet Data Errors
Extracted rich snippet data from the page If you getting results that show errors in red then you may still be verified as the author however you haven’t added the microformat code to your website pages correctly using code or a plugin.
Generally, pages on WordPress sites don’t include an author box so you’ll need a Google+ Profile with a headshot as your profile picture.
After you’ve created your account and added an image, verify authorship of your content by associating it with your profile using either of the methods below.
- Link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email address.
- Use the following instructions to set up authorship by linking your content to your Google+ profile
Create a link to your Google+ profile from your WordPress pages
- Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL:
- Your link must contain the
?rel=authorparameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.
- Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.
- Edit the Contributor To section.
- In the dialog that appears, click Add custom link, and then enter the website URL.
- If you want, click the drop-down list to specify who can see the link.
- Click Save.
To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the rich snippets testing tool.
Here’s an example of how to add support for Google’s rel=author microformat using code.
This code only applies if you’re using the Thesis theme. You should be able to find other tutorials related to the theme you are using in your themes support pages.
Have you added schema tags using code to your blog or did you use a plugin?