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Is Your Google Plus Profile Picture Disappearing In Search Results?

Google Authorship Consistency

Have you noticed that Google authorship is only working in search results for your website part of the time? Maybe a client or perhaps a competitor had a rich snippet Google plus author photo next to their search result yesterday but is missing that photo today? It seems Google authorship may be inconsistent in search results. Then again there would be no reason for such inconsistencies.

After a bit of research and snooping around we acknowledged a potential reason why authorship was only working part of the time in search results.

Preferred Domains and Contribution Links

As part of the instruction to setup your Google plus profile and become a recognized author to a particular website, Google has instructed authors to add a link in their Google Plus profile to those websites they contribute to.

This section of your profile is found by clicking to edit your “about” section of your profile and then clicking on “links”. From here you have the option to include links to your websites. So far this is not very difficult.

The problem however is that author’s often enter in the wrong domain to a website they contribute to. They should enter in the preferred domain (a.k.a. canonical domain) but instead enter in a WWW. version or non-www version which may not perfectly match the domain in search results.

When author’s link to a wrongful domain Google can’t always cleanly follow 301 redirects or otherwise match that same link to the rightful domain in search results.


Correct that Contribution Link

When the contribution link in a Google plus author profile is not the true canonical domain the result is often times a flickering or inconsistent display of Google authorship in search results.

Fixing this inconsistency is not very difficult however. Simply check your search results and find which domain is ranking best. This is your preferred domain. Now copy and paste this domain into your Google plus profile as an author of this website. Now Google can easily and consistently attribute your articles on this domain name to your profile all the time.

SEO Action Tip: Use Google’s Data Highlighter Tool to help Google better understand the content on your website.


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