Google Author Pic Not Showing Up? Solution

Google Author Pic Not Showing Up? Solution Time!There has been a lot of marketing talk about advantages of using a Google+ author pic next to your title link in SERPs (search engine results pages). We all know now that the authorship mark-up can add credibility and authority, attract more clicks, build up your author profile and possibly influence your website rankings (at least indirectly via social signals for now). We also know that it is relatively easy to implement the authorship functionality once you have a Google+ account. What we may not know is what to fix to make your author pic show up in SERPs after you’ve meticulously followed the instructions of verifying your author profile with Google and had no luck.

In this blog post I will describe a real “Google author pic problem” that happened to me a few weeks ago. I will list all of the changes that I’ve made to my Google+ profile pic and the site code as well as all of the steps that I’ve taken trying to fix the problem of not having my author pic show up in Google. Fortunately, I ended up fixing the problem a couple of days ago, and while I believe I found the reason why, I’m still not sure of what exactly was the main fault. Hopefully my steps will shed some light on the issue and help others.

So, let’s get started.

After I successfully verified my author profile with Google a couple of months ago, I’ve seen my pic appear next to my articles on both http://www.artdriver.com and http://www.artdriver.co.uk sites (I publish my blog posts on both sites):

Google Author Pic Not Showing Up? Solution Time!

3 weeks ago I decided to change my Google+ profile pic from the one displayed in the screenshot above to the one below:

I decided to change my Google+ author profile pic

Following my profile pic change and another Google crawl of our sites, my photo had disappeared from SERPs on both http://www.artdriver.com and http://www.artdriver.co.uk sites. Now it was the action time for me to find the solution to bring my face back in Google.

Duplicate Content Penalty?

Initially I thought that the problem might have had to do with the fact that I published the same blog posts on two different sites (.com and .co.uk) without implementing a canonical tag. In the past, I was pretty sure that this should not have been an issue because both sites target different geographic areas. So I made an experiment on a couple of blog posts and implemented the canonicals. After another Google crawl, no luck again!

Duplicate rel=”author” Code Snippets?

Another issue that I thought might have been the culprit of my suffering was the fact that I had a sitewide link in the footer of our site linking to my Google+ profile and using a rel=”author” in addition to having another rel=”author” link in the author bio box on individual blog post pages:

Duplicate rel=”author” Code Snippets

After getting rid of the sitewide Google+ rel=”author” link, the problem was still there. It's worth mentioning that for everything I've tried so far, when I tested my pic using Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool, the pic was there all the time.

Incorrect Coding For the Authorship Markup?

I then researched various ways of implementing the authorship markup into HTML. There are numerous resources online that tell you how to do it. One video tutorial that stood out was the video by Google Webmaster Help team:

I also read an excellent post by Andrea Pernici titled “An In-depth Analysis of Authorship, Google+ and Snippets“ and reached out to Andrea on Twitter for advice (thanks Andrea!):

An In-depth Analysis of Authorship, Google+ and Snippets

I’ve found webmasters use the following ways to implement the authorship markup:

<a rel=”me” href="[profile_url]”>Google</a> - DO NOT DO THIS
<a rel=”author” href="[profile_url]”>Google</a>
<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

If your site is using HTML5 (look for a clean doctype that looks like  <!DOCTYPE html>), then you should use the following format according to Google:

<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

If your site is not HTML5, then use:

<a rel=”author” href="[profile_url]”>Google</a>

While Andrea recommended to use ?rel=”author”,  our site was not HTML5, so we’ve implemented this: <a rel=”author” href="[profile_url]”>Google</a>. This has not helped us either.

Format of the Author Picture?

At this time I was pretty desperate and not sure what else to try. I reread Andrea’s post on SEOMoz, and while he stressed out that the actual author image (face focused vs not face focused, human pic v pet pic, 1 face v 2 faces) may not really be the evil (since he gave examples of various combinations of author pics coming up in SERPs), all I could think of was the fact that I started having all these problems not because I had duplicate posts on two sites, not because I had multiple author markups on the same page, not because I had rel=”me” and ?rel=”author” implementation, but because I CHANGED MY PROFILE PIC and the new pic had my forehead and chin cut off. So I decided to change my photo back to what it originally was….and two days later, I am back!!!!

Google Authorship Picture is Back in SERPs

According to Google: “If you want your authorship information to appear in search results for the content you create, you'll need a Google+ Profile with a good, recognizable headshot as your profile photo.” Was it the main reason for my problem? I think it was. What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments area.

UPDATE: December 15, 2013

I've been hearing from quite a few folks that their authorship pics have started to dissapear from SERPs even though no changes had been made to the content, Google+ profiles or website code. This brings me to conclusion that Google has initiated certain restrictions to improve the quality of SERPs.

Google's Matt Cutts has stated at Las Vegas Pubcon in October 2013 that Google tested a reduction in a number of authorship snippets (~15%) shown in SERPs, and as a result the "quality went up":

We want to make sure that the people who we show as authors are high quality authors. And so we are looking at the process of possibly tightening that up. It turns out  if we reduce the amount of authorship we are showing by just about 10 or 15 percent, we’re radically able to improve the quality of the authors that we show. Which is another nice signal for those searchers and users who are typing into Google and say, “Ah, I see this picture, I see this person is an author. This is something I can trust. This is content that I really want to see.” So it’s not just going to be about the markup; it’s going to be about the quality of the author. By Matt Cutts

My initial conclusion is that the restriction algo for authorship snippets is based on the following:

  • The quality and trust of the actual website where the authorship pic is being displayed (not the number of people in the author's circles)
  • Topic/niche competence of the author for the web page content associated with the pic (Google probably determines this by the number of shares, likes for other topic related articles by this author on the same or different domains or by the number of topic related Google+ posts and their engagement rate, so being active on Google+ may play a role here)
  • The conformity with Google's guidelines about how the authorship pic is connected to pages (proper code markup, no authorship on pages like product listings or real estate property listings, etc)

Stay tuned for more updates.

Still No Luck In Getting Your Google Author Pic Back Up?

About the Author: Oleksiy is the founder of ArtDriver. He oftentimes takes the lead as the SEO expert on high-profile projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends. In his spare time, Oleksiy enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family.

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  • http://mysquareonecondo.ca Eric

    Interesting that the picure was the problem..

    This company put a logo in for their profile pic and it works.. http://www.learncomputer.com

    I am having troubles with my google author pic not showing up and I am still not sure how to fix it...
    If you have a chance, check it out and let me know what you think!

    Thanks for sharing.. ..

  • hemant jadhav

    I don't think it's a "PHOTO" problem. I have two sites "http://www.hemantjadhav.com/" and "http://www.phpfreelancermumbai.com". If you search the keyword "php freelancer mumbai" both the sites come up on first page but only hemantjadhav.com shows the profile pic next to it. I have given the different (I created new g+ account for phpfreelancermumbai.com and uploaded the same photo that I used in my old G+ profile).
    Here I wanted to get my photos before both the sites. since google do not show a pic (from one G+ account) twice in a page, I crated different G+ account(with same pic) for phpfreelancermumbai.com
    But It's been a month now I'm still waiting for that second pic from new G+ account to appear next to phpfreelancermumbai.com.
    I think it depend upon how old is your G+ account.

  • http://www.artdriver.com Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Hemant, thanks for sharing this with us! Have you tried to upload a different photo to your 2nd G+ account?

  • Evan Carmichael

    Awesome post Oleksiy!

    We tried following your method and still no luck. Everything passes the validation tool but it's not showing up.

    Here's a sample article: http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/592/Breaking-Free-Bransons-Early-Years.html

    And the validation: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.evancarmichael.com%2FFamous-Entrepreneurs%2F592%2FBreaking-Free-Bransons-Early-Years.html

    Any ideas?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  • http://www.artdriver.com Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    You are welcome Evan! I can only advise to test a different image for your author pic. Possibly the one you have now is a bit bright and the face features a not distinct. Let me know.

  • Evan Carmichael

    I tried changing the picture today - we'll see if it helps! :)

  • http://www.johntnicholson.com John Nicholson

    I am having the same issue as Evan. I just deleted my Google headshot pic and opted for a company logo. I will try anything at this point as it has been a couple of months with no rich snippet picture showing up in the search results. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Post sample: http://www.johntnicholson.com/ohiolawblog/social-security-ssdssi/will-my-social-security-disability-judge-alj-look-at-my-facebook-account/

    Validation tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.johntnicholson.com%2Fohiolawblog%2Fsocial-security-ssdssi%2Fwill-my-social-security-disability-judge-alj-look-at-my-facebook-account%2F

  • http://www.artdriver.com Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Evan, as far as I can see now, the validation tool shows your headshot. Also, I noticed that you are using a rating plugin. You need to disable it to be able to see youy Google+ pic in SERPs.

  • Evan Carmichael

    Thanks - which rating plugin? The one where I ask people to Please +1 the page?

    It's been a month since having a new picture and it's still not showing up.

    I appreciate your help!

    Evan

  • Evan Carmichael

    I see at the top of this post that you have the Google+ button with 7 +1's being awarded to this post so far. I guess I'm not sure what you mean by having the rating plugin and exactly what I need to disable.

    Thanks again Oleksiy - very much appreciated!!!

    Evan.

  • http://www.artdriver.com Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Evan, see what I meant by the rating plugin: http://screencast.com/t/sstUonlk

  • Evan Carmichael

    Thanks Oleksiy - I think you're showing John's website (another one of your commentors), not mine.

    As far as I can tell I don't have the rating plugin.

    My sample article was: http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/592/Breaking-Free-Bransons-Early-Years.html

    And the validation: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.evancarmichael.com%2FFamous-Entrepreneurs%2F592%2FBreaking-Free-Bransons-Early-Years.html

    Any other ideas?

    Thank you!

  • http://betweennapsontheporch.net/ Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

    Hi, Google Authorship code was just recently added to my blog, but I don't see my photo showing up in seach results on my older content. It is showing up on the content I've written since the code was added to my blog. Just wondering if it will ever appear on the older content that shows up in google searches. I am hoping there is some way to make that happen since I have some older content that's ranking pretty high in search results but alas, with no picture.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.artdriver.com Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Susan, thanks for sharing. Have you validated the code on your old pages using Google rich snippets testing tool?

  • Peter Pandey

    Sir,
    This very important for, please help me. My + profile image showing on all the post but not on home page url, I don't know what trigger I pressed.

    Thanks is advance.

    Check Here.
    https://www.google.co.in/search?q=site%3Ajogbani.co.in

  • Gustavo

    Author picture is not appearing, even though Rich Snippets says that I have everything correctly
    I setup everything, the result of Rich Snippet tool is correctly, but in the results of google search, my picture is not appear. What's the problem in my website?
    http://www.naestrada.org

    tks

    Gustavo

  • Mrinal

    Currently, I am fighting with same problem. Snippets works well but no picture or info in searches. Today, I have changed my pic. Apart from that everything is ok. Let's see. If it is just a picture issue then my pic and info will start appearing and I will report back.
    Also, I don't think so its related to G+ profile age as there are many people who created G+ profile to come in searched and they started appearing. However, I didn't see any search result without so called recognizable head shot.

  • Abhishek Raj

    Hi Oleksiy, i had also been through the same problem once a while. I tried replacing my current profile pic with the one in which i was wearing shades. Two days later, my thumbnail snapshot disappeared from all the search listings. Then i replaced it back with the previous one and it reappeared again. Ever since then i never fiddled with my profile pic, fearing the same problems again. Why is this happening ?

  • Meany Goat

    I don't think that the photo is that critical since I use a photoshopped image of a goat for mine and it works! It took me many hours to complete all the steps after reading all the articles I could find. In the rich snippets tool I get no image and a "publisher verified" green sticker but no "Author verified" sticker...just the correct G+ and twitter links. I also checked many other peoples sites in the rich snippets tool and noticed that often the picture shows in Google search but not in the tool!

    My advice is to configure everything and then wait....it was over a week before my picture started showing up and initially it only showed up for the most popular posts, not for all the posts. For example I have many posts in Google top 10 for particular keywords but those keywords only attract very low numbers of searches...there is no picture for these.

    Each week something seems to change so you have to keep on top of all this stuff and share your ideas!!

  • http://www.software-design.com/ Dk

    I also recognized this problem and i didn't found a solution for that but it seems as if the profile picture is very important for google so I will try to change mine and see if this changes something.

  • A Samuel

    I second this Oleksly, I have just followed your instructions as my profile pic was more vector art and less real photo. I have changed it back to a real photo and within 6 hours it is showing in the results.

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy ArtDriver

    Good to hear A Samuel. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.winsonyeung.com/ Winson Yeung

    No wonder my author photo is not showing up even though I have setup correctly! Because my initial photo have 2 faces!

  • http://advertbanner.com/ Jurgen Jessurun

    I was searching for a client of mine why the Google author picture wasn’t showing up in the SERPs. Using a “cut off” photo shouldn’t be the reason why your image isn’t displayed, as you can see mine does.
    Within Google webmaster tools you can setup the preferred domain (www or non-www). Also look into your Google+ account what sites your contributor of, www or non-www. Try to change the visibility of your link.

  • Jake

    Thanks for this blog post Oleksiy. Very helpful. I've been struggling with getting my picture to show up in google. After I read your post, I changed my photo and just a few hours later, my picture was showing up. 

    Thanks

  • Mari

    Hello again,
    I have a problem with my authorship picture. The picture appeared in google search since about 3 weeks ago. And today it dissapeared. We made some change at the page  - we added the facebook, google plus and twiter buttons at the end of the page. These changes were made last week and after that the picture still appeared till today.
    This is the page: http://www.activ-traduceri.ro/traduceri-medicale-3.htm
    Can you tell me if there is a problem or just a temporary google test?
    Thank you for your time and availability.

  • Terence

    I'm also having that problem, Mari. My picture has been showing in the SERPs for months and disappeared a few days ago. I also added SM buttons to a new site I've just launched that I haven't linked to my G+ account. The one that does link to G+ has had no changes for a month or so. 

    Its at http://www.somalipiratesurvivalguide.com 
    I'm also quite mystified.

  • http://bloggingmatters.net/ Jibran K

    I did not get picture yet on the search engine results. 

  • Swagatam Majumdar

    Thanks Olesksiy!

    Just try to search this:

    site.artdriver.com

    only a few of your posts will show your profile pic rest will be without it. This is what is happening for all of us.

    The same thing happened with my site also, only few posts show my pic while majority of the other do not.

    I just can't figure out, was the problem already there or it started recently? because previously I could see most of my posts carry my profile pic in the search results, now only a few of them....

    This is my site: http://homemadecircuitsandschematics.blogspot.com/

  • anastris

    Hi Oleksiy,

    Nice share, i have some problem with you after change my profile picture. But i have a question, how to inform google to show my author pic again after i
    change my photo back ? or i just wait and google will show my pic?

    Thanx you very much really need your help

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy ArtDriver

    Anastris, you just wait, and the new pic should come up if you inserted it right.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the great article Olesksiy!

    I am having a very weird problem with authorship on my website, perhaps someone here can shed some light on it for me? My picture intermittently shows and disappears... One day it is there, the next it is gone. I am not making any updates to the site with the exception of blog posts, nor am I making any adjustments to my Google Plus page with the exception of posts. I have even seen this happen on an hourly basis in some cases.

    Any thoughts on this here today, gone tomorrow issue would be appreciated.

  • Tim

    I originally had this problem with my site, but making those adjustments somewhat fixed it. Now I am having a completely different problem... Please see my comment once it is released from moderation.

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy ArtDriver

    Tim, what is your website address? Also, pls give 2-3 different queries you use in Google to find your author pic, so that I can try to replicate it on my end.

  • Good Ebooks

    Olek, Great article ! This is almost identical to my pic problem (still!). The pic I am using is actually my company logo - but it works. Well it works in all search results for my G+ posts, but not in my actual website (goodebooks.net).
    The Google structured tool says all is well and the sample looks good, but alas, in the real search world....... no pic.
    I've tried everything with no luck - guess I'll keep on plugging, maybe I'll get lucky.
    All the best, Riley

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy ArtDriver

    Riley, I briefly looked at your site and have two suggestions:

    1. Try changing the pic to a real person (just for a test and see if this helps).

    2. Change to Google and place this link within the tags.

  • Good Ebooks

    I thot I replied, but can't find it. Thanks for your help. I did make changes you suggested, even changed pic to the real me - same results, G+ has pic but site doesn't.
    I have noticed one thing a bit strange, tho - when I do the structure tool, my site soes show the pic but the blue clickable line seems to be 'spit' such that if I clik the 'by Riley Geddings' part, it goes to G+. If I clik the 'More by Riley Geddings' part, the sample stays put and the pic goes away?

  • Good Ebooks

    Oleksiy - After spending many more hours on this, if you remember, my pic shows in all posts and in testing tool, but not website results.
    I have travelled many avenues of knowledge - so many, I can't remember all - but bottom line, I am told that all my code everywhere is correct - and I must be patient. Google will start posting my pic . . . . eventualy !
    Thanks for all you have done.
    Riley

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    np Riley. Good Luck :)

  • Good Ebooks

    Success has smiled upon me - all my pic code was correct, I was told it just takes awhile - and it does ! I waited 10 days and now my pic is there ! (Too bad it ain't pretty (:>
    Riley

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Excellent! Great news Riley! Thanks for sharing it.

  • neeraj_sharma1212

    hey guys here is my link http://www.tutorialsqlserver.com/
    i hsve done everything right, but still not showing authorship iage in serp please suggest

  • Soumyajit Das Mazumdar

    Hello Oleksiy,

    Thanks for the post. I have established authorship for my blog: http://soumyajitblog.wordpress.com/

    The testing tool shows authorship markup has been implemented and I can see my pic there. But it has been yet to come up in the search results. Any help would be really appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Soumyajit

  • James Schiller

    My problem is a little different. I have my authorship image showing up on SOME posts, but not all pages and posts. What's more troubling, is that it used to show up on all or most of my pages and posts for the first month. I hadn't changed anything.. NOW it only shows up on some.. AND pages it used to show up on.. NOW aren't showing it. http://greathomesofcharleston.com/

  • http://www.successstories.co.in/ Mousumi Saha Kumar

    It takes time to show up. At least a week. But some of my friends waited for over 2 months.

  • Tuan Le

    Oleksiy, I'm having the same problem as Tim described above. If you search for "Boston Minilift" on different browser, you'll sometimes see the photo and sometimes you just see "By Min Ahn" (without the photo). I have tried many different trick and could not solve this issue for my client yet. If you have any advice, please let me know. Thanks!

  • http://www.artdriver.com/ Oleksiy Synelnychenko

    Tuan, we've received several requests from other users who experience the same problem: instead of the authorship pic, Google now only shows the line "By Author Name". This is a relatively new development and it needs to be investigate on a case by case basis. One advice I can give you is to regularly update your Google+ profile with new posts and build up your author reputation.

  • Payam

    Hi Oleksiy my photo was showing fine and it comes up ok on the test but its stopped showing for my pages for some time. Any ideas why??? i think i have done it correctly please visit http://www.nicheadvice.co.uk i would be grateful of any help or advice anyone can give

  • Nizam

    Dear Olesksiy

    I have validated my markup. and it is working from last two months
    But Photo is not showing in Google search. You may check the structured data test tool for http://mistriji.com

    Kindly help me out.

  • Deepti Verma

    Facing same thing. I just changed my picture today. Hope it gets sorted :)

  • Taiseer Joudeh

    Thanks for your article, I'm really frustrated, My head-shoot picture was showing correctly on all my posts until I moved my blog from wordpress.com to self hosted, it was showing for like 2 weeks, but didn't show for any post I made from the new wordpress setup.
    Now there is no head-shoot showing at all for old posts or new one.

    It will be great if someone checked if there is an issue with my posts, taking in consideration that on Google data structure tool it is showing correctly and everything is verified.

    Here is an example of a URL: http://bitoftech.net/2014/01/13/building-spa-using-angularjs-part-1/

  • Taiseer Joudeh

    Hello James, is it fixed now? I was facing the same issue, but now no picture is showing at all!

  • http://www.anetteiren.com/ Anette Iren Johansen

    My Google+ picture stopped showing up in Google searches after I changed it. Then I changed back to my old profile picture and after a week my picture showed up again. Would love to change to another profile picture but since it works now I'll wait until I know what exactly causes this to occur.