Google Authorship is a way to link content you create with a Google+ profile, which provides benefits such as your headshot image appearing next to your content in Google’s search results. Google provides a means to get started and more information here, and our The Definitive Guide To Google Authorship Markup guide will help you through the process. Stories below cover the latest developments with authorship at Google.

Google Giveth & Google Taketh Away Author Icons

Google Author Icons Gone Google recently announced they'd be removing a major element from their search engine results pages (SERPs) that they've been featuring for the past couple of years: author icons. Since this is something we Local Marketers have enthusiastically encouraged, what does this mean for businesses now? Should you still incorporate authorship markup? Here's the skinny from my POV. Reversals in Google development are nothing new, of course. Google seems to take one or two steps forward and then a step back multiple times in a period of only a few years. Remember Google Labs? Remember Google Hotp [...]

Google Removes Author Photos From Search: Why And What Does It Mean?

Google Removes Author Photos from Search: Why and What It Means The search world was rocked by yesterday's announcement by Google's Webmaster trends analyst John Mueller that Google will be removing all author photos and Google+ view counts from search results on both desktop and mobile. This change will roll out to all users over the next few days. The pressing question for most people is why would Google do this? The next question, if you've personally invested in implementing Google Authorship, is what this means for the future of the Authorship program and any possible "author rank." As someone who has intensely followed, studied, and made use of [...]

Google Drops Profile Photos, Google+ Circle Count From Authorship In Search Results

google-authorship-featured Google's John Mueller has announced that Google is making a major change in the search results around authorship. Specifically, Google is dropping the profile photo and circle count from the search listings where authorship is assigned to a web page. Mueller said that the "click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one." For some reason, I highly doubt that, but webmasters can be the judge of that as this gets rolled out. Here is the new design for authorship. Notice that all you see is a clickable author name: Here is the old format, where [...]

Google Authorship Goes Down Again, Twice In One Week

google-authorship-yes-image-1400675709 Google Authorship is once again down for the count, second time within a one-week period. Authorship is the image you see next to the Google results of those who wrote the article, blog post or news story. Normally, Google's search results are sprinkled with them, but now, no search results are showing the authorship rich snippet. Here is what authorship should look like next to a snippet: Here is what it looks like when Google takes it away. Last week, Thursday at 3:45 p.m. EST, authorship dropped out of the search results. Google fixed the issue within two hours. Now, aut [...]

Google Drops Authorship Rich Snippets From Search Results. A Bug?

google-authorship-yes-image-1400675709 For the past 20 minutes, if you search anything on Google, the authorship images, where it shows a picture of the individual who wrote the content shown in the Google results, no longer shows up. Here is a picture of what a search results look like with authorship images (was documented yesterday): Here is what the search result looks like as of a few minutes ago: As you can see, Google has stopped showing the author's image in the search results. We have to assume this is a bug and this will be resolved soon, but as of now, the issue has been going on for the past 25 minut [...]

Yes, Google Does Have & Use Author Rank; Specifically Within In-Depth Articles

google-knowledge-mortar-board-graduation Google's Matt Cutts confirmed on stage at Search Marketing Expo today that Google does have a form of "Author Rank" in use today at Google. It is specifically used within the in-depth articles system to determine which articles to show in the In-Depth articles section. This question was prompted by a tweet from Matt Cutts: @marktraphagen to be fair, it does come into play in some ways. For example, in-depth articles use that data, I'm pretty sure. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 12, 2014   Matt confirmed again, on stage that this is indeed true. We are also expecting Googl [...]

Is Chasing AuthorRank A Waste Of Time For SEOs?

author On June 7, 2011, Google announced support for a new type of markup called the Authorship Tag. This was the rel="author" tag. It did not take long before the speculation started -- when would Google start using data from this new tag to impact rankings? The industry took to referring to this concept as AuthorRank. Note that Google never uses this term, and they continue to talk only about "Authorship." However, Google has continued to fan the flames with periodic comments on this topic, the most famous of which came from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt in his book The New Digital A [...]

The Secret To Staying Relevant With Authorship

author At PubCon last year, Google's Matt Cutts discussed big changes to the search results, many of which we've seen played out over the past several months. In his talk, he mentioned upcoming improvements to authorship results. A couple months later in December, Google confirmed it had started tightening the belt when it came to authorship results after many had experienced a drop. The authorship update, which has been called a "shake up," "authorshipocalypse" and other endearing terms, focuses on the quality of content and the authority of the author, where higher quality in both areas [...]

Confirmed: Google Reduces Authorship Rich Snippets In Search Results

google-plus-authorship-featured The head of search spam at Google, Matt Cutts, has confirmed with us that Google has applied a 15% reduction in the amount of rich snippets displayed in the search results. Matt Cutts announced at PubCon a couple months ago that this would happen, saying that the ability to have and use rich snippets may be taken away for low quality sites in the coming months. And this has indeed happened. Matt said this would likely reduce authorship by 15% to only show more authoritative authors. Cyrus Shepard wrote that the MozCast features tool noticed a drop in authorship and webmasters have recent [...]

Infographic: How To Troubleshoot Google Authorship Issues, A Step-By-Step Flowchart

google-authorship-featured In October, I spoke at SMX East about some of the opportunities and challenges when implementing Google Authorship. At about the same time, a good friend of mine reached out to me with her authorship issue. While she appeared to have authorship markup set up correctly on her blog and linked correctly from Google+, her author image wasn't appearing in SERPs -- but did show for others writing on her blog. She's not the first person to reach out to me with an issue like this. Authorship setup can be confusing at best, and even when you think you have everything set up correctly, you still may [...]

Structured Data Superstars @ SMX East

SMX East - Up Close Logo Structured data has become a hot topic over the past year or so, and at SMX East, the room was packed for the Structured Data Superstars session. Evan Sandhaus of the New York Times kicked it off with a very impressive look at how the Times spent the last three years developing and implementing structured data on the site. Called rNews, the data model is compatible and intended to help the “machines” figure out page elements. And according to Sandhaus, to make Times web pages “pretty.” Getting a look at why the New York Times decided to delve into the world of stru [...]

Google Authorship Launches Within Image Search

google-plus-authorship-featured Today at SMX East, Google's Pierre Far told the audience Google launched a small update to authorship by adding authorship rich snippets to Google Image Search. To see it, go to Google Images and search for named of people who may have authorship. Click on the image and if the image has markup on the article, it may show a byline, linking to the authorship link. Here is an example: Pierre Far from Google said this launched quietly a couple weeks ago. Related Stories: Google Adds Automatic Authorship With Google+ Sign In Google Provides FAQ About Authorship, From Blocking To [...]

Google Adds Automatic Authorship With Google+ Sign In

google-plus-featured Google announced an even easier way to get your picture into the Google search results by adding automatic author attribution through Google+ signin. Google has integrated Google+ Sign-In with Google’s authorship program. Now if you sign in to with Google, the articles you publish with that sign in will now be associated with your Google+ profile automatically. That means, Google may more easily show your Google+ profile image in the rich snippet search results. Google launched this today with a limited number of beta programs including Wordpress and Typepad. Google sa [...]

Google Provides FAQ About Authorship, From Blocking To No Mascots

google-authorship-plus Trying to get your head around Google authorship? The Google Webmaster Central blog has posted a new FAQ designed to provide some answers. What Qualifies For Authorship? What pages can have authorship applied to them? Criteria include the page actually being mostly authored by the designated author, that it carries a byline and that it's a single article, not a compilation page of articles by the author. No Mascots Allowed! Think it would be funny if the Geico gecko appeared as an author in Google search results? Google doesn't. Google "prefers to feature a human," it says. Pick One Googl [...]

Is Google Authorship Affecting Rankings Today?

trafficimprovement Many of us in SEO espouse the great benefits of Google Authorship and the potential of the rumored AuthorRank. Many in SEO would argue that AuthorRank has not yet been implemented as part of the Google algorithm. Or has it been added already? The Scenario A few weeks ago, one of my paid search clients contacted me with a problem. His normally very high ranking website had been dropping dramatically in traffic volumes from Google over the past 10-12 months. This particular client also is an association, a publisher of valuable information for the public. Diagnosis: Panda After taking a look [...]

Google: Authorship Bug Affects “Very Few Sites,” Actively Working On A Fix

google-plus-authorship-featured Google has confirmed that there are current issues with displaying authorship rich snippets on "very few sites." A Google spokesperson told us "it's something we're actively working on" but that "it affects very few sites" on the Internet. This is a topic I've personally been tracking very closely, as my own site is impacted by this very limited bug. About a month ago, I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable that my own face is not showing up in the search results for that site and there are dozens of other complaints from webmasters. This has been going on for months. Sites that had [...]

Advanced Authorship: The Deep Dive

Up Close Coverage From SMX Advanced 2013 Recently, I attended the SMX Advanced session, "Authorship: The Deep Dive", moderated by Elisabeth Osmeloski, and featuring speakers: John Carcutt, Advance Digital, Janet Driscoll Miller, Search Mojo, Mitul Gandhi, seoClarity, and Mark Traphagen, Virante, Inc. There were a number of interesting takeaways. Mitul Gandhi is up first. He quotes Eric Schmidt of Google as saying that authorship could become the most important factor for ranking. First, Mitul examined whether Google+ was appearing in SERPs and he found that there was a huge rise in vi [...]

Google Authorship Beyond Webpages

google-authorship-featured In last month's post about authorship, I shared that Google has been experimenting with inferring authorship for PDF documents in addition to webpages. This piqued my curiosity to see if any other indexable filetypes could also have inferred authorship. Microsoft Office Files PowerPoint files appear to infer authorship similar to PDFs and webpages, looking for the term "by" followed by the author's name. To generate the authorship snippet on an Excel file, I had to add "by Janet Driscoll Miller" to a tab in the workbook, and Google uses the tab name as the title of the page. Having a byli [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts: Web Spam Benefits From Using Rel=”Author”

matt-cutts-featured A new video by Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, talks about how potentially using rel="author" structured data can help Google's Web spam team improve search quality. Matt Cutts explains that moving from the anonymous Web to a Web with identity helps Google understand the authority and trust of the person writing that content. It can help identify a spammer from an author with a lot of authority and credibility. The example given by Cutts is of our own Founding Editor, Danny Sullivan. If Danny writes something in a low PageRank forum, Google may consider that post written by Dan [...]

Google Continues To Experiment & Expand Authorship

If one theme was abundantly clear at SMX West in March, it was the question over the importance of authorship and how it might impact future rankings in Google. During the “What’s Needed For SEO Success In 2013 & Beyond?” panel, I asked Matt Cutts if Google planned to expand authorship credit (and potentially the rich snippet) beyond just written content (like blog posts) and begin incorporating other content types. In reality, content creators could truly author various types of content, including photos for photographers or video for videographers. Just because a piece of con [...]

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