Google Authorship can make your own and your SEO clients’ search results more interesting. Instead of the usual, boring page title, URL, and short description, a rich snippet appears for content that is linked with Authorship. A thumbnail of the author’s photo appears. The author’s name or byline is there, too. The result also includes a link to other articles published by that same author. All these additional perks are clickable. So, it’s no wonder that SEO resellers, bloggers, online marketers, and business owners want Authorship implemented for their content.
Making that rich snippet appear shouldn’t be complicated. Follow these simple steps to implement Google Authorship. If everything goes well, you should start to see a photo thumbnail for your own or your SEO clients’ search results. That is… IF everything goes well.
How to Verify If Authorship Works or Not
If you’ve done everything Google told you and your rich snippet still is not appearing on search engine results pages (SERPs), then your first response should be to use the Structured Data Testing Tool. This tool tests whether Google can indeed detect the on-page information it requires to be able to display a rich snippet for your particular pages.
The tool can show a handful of useful information but you should focus on the top three or four test results. The Preview test result will show you what your typical search result looks like. From here, you’ll have an idea if your Authorship is working or not. The Testing Result will give you a clear yes or no answer. Under it, there’s a field so you can verify Authorship via email.
If your Authorship is not yet implemented, see the next section. If it is “working” but your rich snippet is still not appearing on search results, go further down and look at other issues.
Content Link, Email Verification Issues
In a column with Search Engine Land, Search Mojo CEO Janet Driscoll Miller shared a step-by-step flowchart on how to troubleshoot Google Authorship. It’s an amazing resource for anyone who is having problems making that golden snippet appear.
The flowchart starts with the two ways to establish Authorship: via email and via content link. If you have an email that matches the domain you publish content on, verify via email. If not, use the content link method, which in essence is linking the byline or author name to the author’s Google+ profile.
Problem No. 1: Content Link Issues.
On this side of the chart, we’ll see that not having a byline, or “written by” information, in the content can cause issues. Forgetting to link the byline or author name to his or her Google+ profile is another problem. Another common issue is not including the website to the “Contributor to” section of the author’s Google+ profile.
Problem No. 2: Email Verification Issues.
On the email verification side, not submitting your email for verification is of course a problem. Having a mismatched email address and domain can cause a problem too.
Right: domain.com and email@example.com
Wrong: domain.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Often Overlooked Issues
SEO resellers may encounter technical difficulties in implementing Authorship but let’s save them for later. Chances are you simply overlooked one of the following:
Problem No. 3: Content is still fresh.
If you have just hit the “publish” button, do not expect the content to immediately appear on SERPs, much so with the rich snippet. Check again after a few days.
Problem No. 4: Mismatched Google+ profile name and byline.
Make sure that you use the same exact name for your byline and your Google+ profile. For example, Google might treat Michael Keaton and Mike Keaton as two different authors even though they are the same person.
Problem No. 5: Google+ profile not public.
Google has already made all Google+ profiles public, deleting private ones in 2011. However, you still have the option to limit your profile’s visibility to people within your circles only. Don’t do this. Make your Google+ profile public.
Problem No. 6: There’s something wrong with your profile photo.
How will you face the problem if the problem is your face? Google uses face-recognition technology so make sure your whole face appears clearly on your profile photo. Don’t use logos or avatars. If you like, you can also test and optimize your Google author photo.
4 Technical Issues to Analyze
Problem No. 7: Login form is blocking your content.
“If your content is behind a login wall, this could also be an issue, as Google may not be able to index the content and complete the Authorship loop,” Miller said. So, ensure the page is publicly available and does not require a login or signup to view.
Problem No. 8: Using advanced search operators to find the snippet.
Don’t expect to see your rich snippets if you search for your content using operators like “site:domain.” Just use the simple Google search field to find your content and to see whether your Authorship appears with it.
Problem No. 9: Missing rel=author in byline link.
Don’t just hyperlink your author name or byline with the Google+ profile ID. Insert the “?rel=author” parameter.
Wrong: [a href="https://plus.google.com/112067004295537912481 "]Paul Stinemetz[/a]
Right: [a href="https://plus.google.com/112067004295537912481?rel=author">Paul Stinemetz [/a]
Problem No. 10: Page cannot be crawled/indexed by Google.
Check your robots.TXT code. Check for possible NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW meta tags. A simple piece of code can prevent you from taking advantage of Authorship, as well as ruin your content or website’s chances of ranking on search engines.
Here is the Google+ Authorship Troubleshooting Guide Infographic
We here at Endlessrise integrate Google Authorship into our SEO methodology. Authorship tagging is one of the new items included in our SEO services. If you want to help your clients get rich snippets for their search results and increase their click-through rates, sign up as an Endlessrise reseller today.