Can You Solve This Google Authorship Markup Mystery?

Is Google granting authorship to you for article you haven’t even written? Well, you’re not alone.

Google’s authorship markup seems to be attaching my Google+ profile to links that I’ve never verified in anyway. Avinash Conda and I discovered this today when viewing my authorship stats in Google Webmaster Tools.

The odd thing here is that I haven’t written for OnMilwaukee since 2006, and do not have them listed anywhere on my Google+ profile.

They are mentioned on my LinkedIn profile, but the link there leads to the company LinkedIn page, not the site.

Nothing in the site code (one article here) should be tying my profile to this page. The only time my name appears on either OnMilwaukee article is in the byline and it’s not a hyperlink. They are not using rel= publisher or authorship anywhere on the site.

In this case the article is by me, but there is nothing obvious linking me to the article, so it’s hard to tell if the methods Google is using are reliable, which could lead lead to confusion, improper branding, or even abuse if there is a way to link people’s faces to content they haven’t written.

Is Google now pulling from sources other than the ones listed in a Google+ profile?

Have you seen this happening before or know why this is happening?

Please let us know what you think!

  • Fred Dintenfass

    @ajkohn replied on Twitter that this is something he’s seen before — Google+ is apparently pulling mix of bylines, profiles, and social graph — and that results vary widely. Seems like this could be totally open to abuse.

    Also, I wrote dozens of articles for eChinacities in 2008-2009 and none of those are showing up under my ‘authorship’.

  • Casey Markee, MBA

    Fred, I’m compiling a list of incorrect attribution right now for a presentation. Do you have an update on the above? Is it still a problem in your Authorship stats in GW Tools? Let me know and thanks!