It could take a while. Google are rolling this out right now and the criteria for getting your face to show up in the search results is unclear. All I can do is tell you about what I have observed. However long it takes, the sooner you get the proper, validated markup onto your site, the sooner you’ll be in there.
Google announced at the end of June 2014 that it will no longer show author faces in the SERPs: instead a text-only author listing may be displayed. This seems to be driven by a mobile-first design approach which responds to the limited space available for listings on smaller devices. However Google Authorship still has a part to play even through the benefit of your face in the SERPS has gone.
Back in 2011, 2012 and 2013 Google was more generous. Here are some examples:
Joost de Valk – Joost is a big-time, famous WordPress guru who has written a lot of high quality content. He is in thousands of Google+ circles because when Google launched Google+, he was already very well known in his niche. Joost went seriously public online years ago.
So when Google implemented author images in their search results, his and the images of other similarly high profile and prolific content publishers like him showed up pretty much straight away.
This could have been because Google chose a handful of very prominent people to showcase, or it could have been because he was in so many Google+ circles, had such a high Klout Score and had so much good quality content already published.
Between August and November 2011, I only saw people with this type of profile represented in the SERPs with their image.
Penny Ritson – Penny is one of my WordPress Coaching students, and she only started her site in the late summer of 2011. Since then Penny has written regularly on her WordPress site. She was unknown and unrepresented online before July 2011.
Because she was my student, I got her to implement Google’s Authorship markup very early – around October 2011. By December her face was showing in the SERPs. It only took Penny a few weeks to get a result. Penny has a reasonable Klout score – and at the time her face started to show, she had published about 160 posts on a well organised and well SEO’d site that was pulling decent traffic.
Penny’s experience seems to suggest that even a new site can see Google Authorship markup results fairly quickly if you are publishing fast, regularly and your posts are attracting real visitors.
Elizabeth Jamieson – That’s me. It took 4 months for my face to start showing in the SERPs. I guess I represent the worst case scenario.
I don’t do enough social media and I don’t publish nearly as frequently as I should. I an too busy helping other people with their sites to spend sufficient time on own site. I only have about 50 posts on my site and a low end Klout score.
This has shown me very clearly that I would be better off concentrating on my own projects. The internet is a cumulative medium – the more you publish for yourself, the more opportunity comes your way. As a consequence I will be doing much less client work this year so that I have time to build my own profile online.
You realize, I’m sure that all of that was anecdotal – no-one knows how Google makes their decisions. However the first step is to get the Authorship Markup onto your site, make sure that it validates, then keep writing quality stuff, and wait.
This is still early days for Author Markup and if you are outside the technical niche, you will certainly be one of the first to be implementing it and that can only be good for you.