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Screwed your authorship mark-up? Google’s got you covered

Recently Barry (Schwartz) wrote about a conductor study that had shown 90% of tech websites hadn’t properly implemented authorship in the form of the rel=”author” tags.

“Our analysis showed only 9% of the top tech blogs have “˜completely’ implemented rel=author by both adding the tag to their website and pointing to the author’s Google + account. “

This is certainly a bit surprising as it’s an important element of maximizing clicks and visibility in a given SERP. Obviously this is more important in some sectors than it would be in others, but still. It should be on most of our radars as internet marketers.

Then I noticed something

Google’s got game

At the end of the Conductor post they link to ‘step by step instructions’ for implementing the tags. Standard stuff right? Then why exactly has Google made me a ‘verified author‘ on sites where this hasn’t been done?

In Google Webmaster tools I went to ““ Labs > Author stats ““ which says

Authorship GWT

Ok cool. Considering I’ve only really done the authorship mark-up dealy here on SNC, I figured that would be what I’d see. Apparently not.

It seems Google is also showing the SEO Training Dojo, Reliable SEO and The Trail as well, where I haven’t implemented the rel=author

Sure, that makes some sense I suppose since there are deep connections, (I own them) not a huge leap. But it doesn’t end there. They’ve also connected the dots to other locales such as;

They don’t seem to always get it right mind you. There’s posts such as this one, and this one, that are showing. I am certainly not the author on those (but thanks for the data anyway!).

New reports in GWT
New reports in GWT

What’s going on here?

Ultimately it does seem that my Google Plus profile is the core element that’s making these associations to Google, even without the rel=”author” tag.

My G+ profile

One of the more interesting associations, was on our company site where it took this page, and associated me as the author of the page, when there is no actual author named on the page. But, as you can see below, I did connect it to my profile in order to create our company’s Google Plus page.

Apparently Google is indeed not counting on webmaster’s to fully or properly implement the authorship mark-up (or use it at all). They are making some associations from other signals, your Gplus profile seemingly the important one. If you’re active on websites other than your own, I do suggest making sure you’ve linked them up.

The author stats feature dissapeared recently, as Barry reported, Google said they were;

"(..) disabled the experimental Author stats feature in Webmaster Tools Labs as we work to fix a bug in the way stats are attributed."

I guess they got that sorted? Hmmmm seems a tad wonky still.

At the end of the day it is certainly something that could be handy when actively posting on websites beyond your own. In my case I can get a sense of which of my posts are being effective (ranking/traffic wise) through data I wouldn’t normally have access to. That in turn can help me get a sense of my value to the publication and help craft future content ideas.

Anyway, just something I noticed in my daily travels… do let me know what you find when YOU play with it…

Here’s some related reading of interest..



  1. Janet Driscoll Mille September 6, 2012

    OK, so you beat me to the punch on this one. I was working on an article about this.

    On our site, we saw the same thing. Interestingly, Google was adding authorship to our webinar archive pages. Even though the pages were marked up for video, Google INFERRED authorship from one line in the body copy that read “presented by XXX” (where XXX was a person’s name). Ironically, authorship rich snippets appeared to trump the video thumnail snippet. Grrrr.

    So we removed the “presented by” and altered the wording, and voila… video thumbnail appears and authorship is removed.

    Personally, I’d rather see a video thumbnail than the authorship on a video. Perhaps that’s just me. But it did prove to me the importance Google may be placing on authorship — that it even will trump other schema markup for content.

    I still may write the article with the screen shots and all. 🙂

  2. SNCadmin September 6, 2012

    Oh my, please do write away Janet!! I just quickly took some screens and mused about what I was seeing. Over the coming weeks I shall certainly start to look deeper and play with it more (added a few more links to my G+ profile today, see what comes of it).

    It is certainly telling as far as how their starting to make some connections Reminds me a bit of the ol social graph API that they took down.

    Certainly goes even further imo, be sure to check the link at the end to the named entities stuff. Then of course we consider the social graph and knowledge graph stuff and some patterns likely emerge (even the profile entities role in reviews/local)

    Let me know when you post yours so I can add a linkee onto this one.

  3. Bill September 23, 2012

    I am sure for the average Joe making the correct mark up is not easy. The fact that many webmasters are getting it wrong only adds to the fact the most are going to screw it up. It is good that Google has been proactive as you describe. I have done the mark up for most of my sites.

  4. Bobby October 9, 2012

    Can we give company google+ profile for authorship markup instead of personal profile

  5. Bobby October 9, 2012

    pls reply any one on this…..

  6. Janet Driscoll Mille October 9, 2012


    Google does not allow “brand” author markup because it considers an author to be an individual.


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