I noticed at the end of last year that my image wasn’t coming through on search results as often as it had been.
I don’t mean the Google+ links that show in the search results because they always show my image.
Just the ones directly linked to my blogs.
Have you noticed that too?
I started to look into what could be happening with Google Authorship.
It seems that Google have been up to quite a bit!
What Has Happened To Google Authorship?
Barry Schwartz reported on the Search Engine Roundtable in October that Google were planning on applying a 15% reduction in the amount of rich snippets and authorship displayed in their search results.
Since then Google have gone ahead with this and I now see very few entries with rich snippets in the results.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that your Google Authorship isn’t working just that Google made the decision to alter their parameters.
It’s become much more difficult now to have your face image show up in the search results.
Google Authorship Is Split Into Three Classes
Mike Johnson at WPSocial suggests that Google Authorship may now have been divided into three different “classes”.
If you’re now one of the privileged few, you’ll still get the full authorship snippet, including your photo, byline and optionally the number of Google+ circles you’re in.
Authors that fall into this class will see their byline and sometimes the number of circles they’re in but their photo isn’t shown.
The remaining group of authors won’t see google rich snippets on any of their content.
Only Use Google Authorship On Quality Content
One thing that Mike also mentions is that you should be careful where you actually use Google Authorship.
I hadn’t really thought about it until I read his article. I just set it up and let it get to work.
Mike takes an interesting step of actually using an “Admin” author on his sites with zero authorship.
He uses this on Pages, Product Pages, and Custom Post Types.
Although he does still make use of the Google Publisher status with all his content.
Google Authorship And WordPress SEO By Yoast
It seems that it’s not as simple as set it and forget it after all.
Samuel Scott mentions on the YouMoz Blog that in general we shouldn’t place Google Authorship on Pages only on Posts.
So, that includes your Home Page, your About Page and any other pages you have set up.
Ouch! I did get rid of Authorship from my Home Page a few weeks ago using WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Under the Social section on the Google+ tab, you have the option not to show an author on the Home Page and to add your Google Publisher Page.
I’m still trying to work out how to drop Google Authorship from my Home Page completely though.
The Rich Snippet Tool still picks up the Author byline as a possible reference for Authorship.
I had also set up a link to my About Page specifically to make Authorship work.
That’s now gone and so has Authorship from all of my other Pages.
You can see how to do that with WordPress SEO by Yoast in Samuel’s post.
Still Confused About Google Authorship?
Search Engine Land published a handy infographic that might help.
OK, so we still have to accept that Google aren’t going to show everyone’s photo any more.
All we can do is continue to write our very best content and keep working towards achieving a greater authorship authority.
At least if we have everything set up correctly though we have a chance of getting our photos shown!
Where’s This All Leading To?
Anyone’s guess but one possible answer might be Author Rank.
This has been talked about as a possible metric for Google to measure the value of the content that you produce.
Based on your author value, Google may then decide your place in the search engine listings.
Virante set up a website to figure out possible Author Rank.
There’s no suggestion yet that Google are applying this sort of thing in their algorithm.
However, to give you an idea of what your Author Rank might be, take a look at beta.authorrank.org.
Over To You
Have you seen a decrease in your rich snippet showing up in Google search results?
Have you changed the way you approach using Google Authorship because of the changes Google have made?