by J. Rae Chip

<<UPDATED 3/15/2014 due to additional information from a Google employee>>

Bigger photos in links: a photographer's dream come true, but a headache to make it work in some cases.

Google rolled out a new feature on their social network, Google Plus, and it quickly became a popular topic of conversation. Big links are a great solution to a debate: should links emphasize the content or the photograph? And in my opinion they look great.

The problem is that they don't seem to work consistently throughout the internet. Some photographers have had the luck of the big links just happening and others have not. I originally thought that, like all new features, it was just going to take more time for it to reach my profile. In this case, though, that was not true. I could post a link to someone else's page and it was big; I just couldn't make links from my own blog work in that way.
British Columbia photographer Michael Russell, whose post to the right, was one of the several people including employees at Google who helped me troubleshoot why big links did not work. That is important because I can't be the only person with this issue.

We thought it might be because I did not have authorship enabled, as one Google employee suggested on my initial test post.

Harald Wagener
Yesterday 6:48 PM+
+J. Rae Chip you need rich snippets on your site:

The language on the schema site is a bit too complicated for me, so Martin Heller helped me attempt to use webmaster tools to get my website and plus profile communicating better. Though we got it to work, that did not fix the problem completely.

It didn't fix mine initially because there was more work to be done, but it might help some people.

Leo Deegan, one of my favorite Googlers who works closer to this topic, helped too. He thought it had to do with a code that had to be in the head of the website. Inserting the code <meta property="og:type" content="article"/> in the head works for some people.

Taking those steps caused big links to work on my site on SOME of my blog posts but not ALL. In any case that's better than none, and I'll take it.

((UPDATED 3/15/2014: Via Leo Deegan again Yesterday 10:29 PM on the right, the algorithm has trouble choosing an image if there is more than one in the post.

I was able to trick it into publishing the header image in the big link by publishing the below photo afterward.

However, Deegan suggested the more correct way for people with control over their HTML: "move your main image of the blog post to be the first image in the mark-up."))

Like all things, this feature is not perfect. But one of the things I like about Google's social media site is that Google tries to help people as much as possible. Try getting this kind of response at the Face Place.
The evolving conversation on my social media account is below:
Michael Russell, Leo Deegan, Harald Wagener, Martin Heller, and Rachael Alexandra for struggling through this with me.
This is what it will look like when your authorship is verified in Webmaster Tools.