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:
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 yearin 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, followGoogle’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.