Why Is My Google Authorship Not Working?

Avatar Path Interactive April 23, 2014 Category Digital Marketing

Since June of 2011, Google has been using various forms of authorship to give credit to authors who write content for websites online. Authorship then ties the author’s identity to that website and post. Many articles have been written about how to set up Google Authorshipso I won’t be covering that today. Today I will discuss what to do when your authorship is not working.

I recently had a client whose image was not appearing in the SERPs and after some tinkering with it for a bit, I was able to restore his image thus prompting this post.

Step 1: Are my links set up properly?

On our personal Google+ profiles, there is a section called Links where we can add a link to other profiles such as LinkedIn and Twitter as well as some of our favorite websites. There is also a contributor to section. This section must point back to the blog section of the website we’re writing for. For example, since I write for Path Interactive’s blog, my link points back to https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/. On Path’s website, there is a link in the source code that points back to my profile and looks like this:

<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/+JoeRega/” />

Since I am using the vanity URL my name appears there in lieu of the number we’re first assigned, which will also work for authorship.

The link needs to be reciprocal otherwise it may not (and usually doesn’t) work.

Step 2: Are there other sections of my profile that I need to update?

Yes. Make sure you verify your email address so Google can authenticate your profile. Then, and I’d like to attribute this to being what fixed my client’s image, make sure the location is just town and state. I had an exact address for my client and once I removed that his image came back.

Google+ also allows for extra links in the Introduction section of your about page. The first link is dofollow and all links thereafter are nofollow. I removed that from my client’s page but that seemed to have no effect.

Image Size. The recommended sizes for your profile photos are as follows:

  • Recommended: 1080 x 608
  • Minimum: 480 x 270
  • Maximum: 2120 x 1192

I also thought that this was an issue but I’ve seen images much smaller and much larger come up for authorship so I didn’t think this was the issue, but I changed his picture anyway.

Step 3: Technical assessments

This is when I started to enter panic mode as nothing I was doing seemed to work (I’m writing this out of sequence by the way). I removed my client’s code <link rel=”author” href=”…”> from his website. I then removed the backlink from his contributor to section.  I waited until Google crawled his site and saw that his limited authorship, name and circle count, was no longer indexed. I then removed cached results from Google Webmaster Tools.

Once that was finished I added the rel=”author” code back as well as the backlink on his Google+ profile. Then I submitted his website to Google’s index via webmaster tools and had Google re-crawl his site. You’d think that would work, right? It didn’t. What it did do is make me realize that there had to be an error with his profile.


The authorship update in December 2013 seemed to adjust the way authorship appeared in the SERP but most authors have recovered by now. If your image is not showing up please review your profile’s and websites to make sure all backlinks are codes are correct.

Have you experienced something similar to this with your website?


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