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

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 not see your author image. What gives? It turns out that the author image itself can have an effect on whether your authorship snippet is displayed. In the case of my friend, her photo was a close up photo of her face, but it did not show her full face.

Here’s an example of what I mean: author image Google prefers to show a full face with the author image, so don’t get too artsy with your selfie! When my friend changed her Google+ profile image to a full-face picture like the one on the right, her authorship snippet began showing.

My friend’s problem, and the problems I’ve seen others face with authorship, inspired me to create the handy flowchart below to help you troubleshoot what may be the issue.  Google also provides a few key points to troubleshoot authorship issues. (View a larger size flowchart here. Download and Embed Codes for the flowchart are available at the end of article. Click on the image to enlarge it.

A Step by Step Flowchart To Help Troubleshoot Authorship Issues

So… Why Isn’t My Authorship Appearing In Search Results?

Even if you have set up your authorship properly, be forewarned! Matt Cutts said in his keynote at Pubcon in October that Google may be tightening up authorship (and rich snippets) next year in an effort to provide the highest quality authorship results, with a possible reduction of authorship results of up to 15 percent.

What does that mean for you as an author? Matt stressed that authorship (and rich snippets) will likely be shown for the highest quality sites. So keep striving for high quality content, follow Google’s webmaster guidelines, and keep building your authorship authority. None of these approaches, of course, is a guarantee, but I expect it’s the best way to keep your authorship snippet intact.

Get Your Own Copy Of The Authorship Flowchart

Download a PDF copy of the Authorship Flowchart here, suitable for printing. Want to embed it on your site? Here are embed codes for two sizes:

Small PNG – 600×1374 (367k)

Large PNG – 1000×2290 (666k)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO | Google | Google: Authorship | Google: Rich Snippets | Google: SEO | How To: SEO | Infographics | SEO - Search Engine Optimization


About The Author: is the President and CEO of Marketing Mojo. She regularly blogs on a variety of search engine marketing topics, often focusing on technical solutions. You can find her on Twitter @janetdmiller.

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  • Michael Cottam

    Great job, Janet…well explained! Question: have you ever seen a case where the structured data testing tool totally fails to read the page? I’ve seen this with 2 different clients…you just get an “Invalid URL” message back. I’ve gone through the obvious HTML validation etc. but no success.

  • Sandeep Pattanaik

    Good work Janet. I am also gona test it.

  • Ashley Shepherd

    Can i check, so if I guest post on another site & want to link back to my site rather than my G+ account, if i link back to my own onsite blog that has Author=Rel set up, will this give me authorship?

  • Arsham Mirshah

    Awesome infographic — definitely took some thought :)
    An awesome resource I use all the time to test authorship:

    If it works, you’ll see a preview of what the SERP would look like with your face next to the article. :)

  • alexei_aus

    Great explanation. I’ve come across number of sites that didn’t display author image properly.

  • Alexandra Petean-Nicola

    Great structure of the infographic. I don’t think you’ve missed any problem that can come up with establishing Authorship of articles on a site.

  • Mike Pedersen

    I have a client where authorship was coming up 100% of the time and now it’s gone. Any ideas why?

  • StephanieWarthe

    Thank you so much for this, extremely well documented and laid out! I actually didn’t know that Google only showed one auhorship rich snippet per author per page, turns out everything was working fine. Thanks for the help, much appreciated!

  • Siti

    Perfect! Very structured explanations. No wonder mine is still not working!

  • johndisoja

    perfect and admirable job.

  • Nicky Helmkamp

    Hey Janet- Awesome article! We included it in our monthly round up


  • samrex

    Suhweet.. now somebody tell +Google to add this to their authorship how-to page :)

  • Linda Mark

    fix everything ok but 7 days not see anything change in SERP

  • Roger Grant

    Janet, I’m on a Windows 7 box doing some testing with Google Authorship. Any ideas why Google Authorship doesn’t always display the author’s picture in IE 11.x? It seems to work fine in Chrome, Firefox and Safari. For example, if you Google the term “google authorship,” your picture is not displayed in the SERPs for IE 11.x.

  • BlackDogConsulting

    Useful points, setting up authorship does seem to be more complex than it needs to be.


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