Google, Am I That Ugly? Google Drops My Face From Authorship

Jun 21, 2013 • 8:41 am | comments (68) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google AuthorI know I am not the prettiest guy in the world or even in the SEO space - probably very far from it - but why would Google drop my authorship image for this site?

Truth is, Google has removed authorship not just for me on this site but also for other "authoritative" personalities on other sites.

Google launched authorship two years ago, I had my face in the search results for almost all of those two years. But in the past month or two, my face dropped out of the search results for this specific site only.

Let's compare, here are two results, one from Search Engine Land and one from Search Engine Roundtable. Same story, just different sites and my picture shows for Search Engine Land but not Search Engine Roundtable.

Google Authorship Image

Is there something wrong with my markup? Google's Structured Data Testing Tool validates my markup as being solid and working.

Maybe Google thinks I am ugly? Maybe they think this site is not authoritative? Maybe they think I am not authoritative? Well, it can't be me, since I show up on Search Engine Land. It might be the site?

Google wasn't able to really offer me any insight in the Google Webmaster Help forums, and there are dozens of other complaints about this, here are two more.

So what is up Google? Is this site poor quality? Or are you just sick of seeing my face whenever I mention Google or Matt Cutts? ;-)

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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06/21/2013 12:52 pm

I don't know if this helps but the last time I saw your face in the SERPs my boss stopped by the cube, caught a look at my screen, and turned to stone. Free half day, but you know, kind of a hassle. PS: Avoid any shiny shields.


06/21/2013 12:54 pm

I've found the same thing, around 50/50. It will appear on new posts, then drop for older ones and then pop back randomly. Can't think of any reason for it either.


06/21/2013 12:59 pm

nope this happens some times Might be error in google search ,this happened to me many times.Wait for 2-3 days it will come back again.


06/21/2013 01:13 pm

Hello Barry, Please no offence if I am wrong. I am not an expert but giving my best possible answer. I just analyzed the code of two of your sites and learnt that seroundtable .com is missing your rel authorship link to your Google Plus profile. code I found on is " a href="" rel="author">Barry Schwartz" I think it should be included just like the code you inserted on Try installing code as like on I hope you get the solution. Or may be I am wrong.


06/21/2013 01:17 pm

Hmmmm, maybe the facial hair? A while back I noticed that people with sunglasses and large moustaches were not being blurred out in Streetview. Maybe Google changed something in Authorship to only show real faces (rather than logos or pictures of cats) and Google now feels that your photo is simply not human enough for them.

Heberger site

06/21/2013 01:21 pm

It really sucks indeed. I'm having the same problem. All the structured data I'm using and that they were showing in google search disappeared without any reason.

Deven Jadav

06/21/2013 01:29 pm

Hi Barry, My observation via my own website says that Google don't allow repeated pic of same author on first/any resulted pages. If SearchEngineLand was ranked above with your authorship, it will show up and rest will not, as link with Authors pic attracts more traffic compared to other and Google don't want that to happen.

Barry Schwartz

06/21/2013 01:30 pm

That doesn't make sense, I am sorry.

Deven Jadav

06/21/2013 01:31 pm

Possible, But like always we will wait for your confirmation from Google.. If you can try asking them.


06/21/2013 01:37 pm

Just provide link to your Google Plus profile with rel="author" and wait for Google to crawl

Ed Luvables

06/21/2013 01:40 pm

What doesn't make sense, that seems legit to me?

Scott Benson

06/21/2013 01:55 pm

I feel like the've been all over the place with displaying profiles. I've seen them dispalyed when there's no author mark-up connected (though it was a known author), and then hit or miss on fully connected blogs & profiles. Odd.


06/21/2013 02:00 pm

Might have something to do with the penalty you narrowly missed? Maybe you didn't miss it after all? Although you rank ok I guess, but then you always did.

Barry Schwartz

06/21/2013 02:01 pm

I asked them, they said my code is fine. They will ask the team. :)

Andrea Pernici

06/21/2013 02:07 pm

As far as I know the problem is not the image. The image exclusion in the same SERP for the same author is 1 year old. The strange thing is the missing "by Name Surname" line.


06/21/2013 02:09 pm

Hi Barry, I think this is a Google issue. Markup in general seems to be missing across the board. I've noticed product reviews and ratings markup has been removed from eCommerce sites, with only price showing up.

josh bachynski (SEO)

06/21/2013 02:12 pm

Barry could be because of that paid link issue you had from before your site is likely considered low trust right now and they will remove the authorship from any site considered low trust. They don't want to send MORE traffic to sites that have "low trust" from other recent "suspect" issues.

Barry Schwartz

06/21/2013 02:13 pm

I had the authorship image there when I had paid links. I removed paid links, authorship still there. Now, recently, it is gone.

Chris Ainsworth

06/21/2013 02:17 pm

Hi Barry, I may have solved your issue. The authorship tool says: "The testing tool currently only checks the first rel=author link listed on a webpage for a link to a Google+ profile ( It's possible that authorship may in fact be working for this page because of other rel=author links on the page. To verify that authorship is working on this page, please ensure the first profile listed on the site links to the appropriate Google+ profile." So on the SE Roundtable post although Authorship is configured and the Structured Data Testing Tool confirms this, perhaps because the first rel="author" link is directed towards your SE Roundtable profile page, Google is not correctly displaying the author data. In fact, if you look at SERPS, none of the SE Roundtable posts appear to display authorship markup. So try making the first rel="author" link a direct link to your Google+ profile rather than your SE Roundtable user profile. I bet that works! Chris

Deven Jadav

06/21/2013 02:49 pm

Very initially, Some few months before when i started with Authorship, i had more then 1 pages listed in ranking and it use to show Author Pic on all resulted links. Then gradually i noticed that only first link shows pic and others below it not. What is guess is that it is applied to Algo now (may be Panda or General). Sometimes even all my links goes off with Author Pic and gradually comes back (What i guess is it a stage when one's pages are under algo scan in pre-stage of compete and calculate of re-ranking in search results) and for time being they are totally off the pic.

Deven Jadav

06/21/2013 03:10 pm

Thanks Ed


06/21/2013 03:11 pm

Barry, don't you think it's an algorithmic issue related to your sponsored side-bar links? Your added nofollow tags prevented a new manual action but with every manual penalty comes usually an algorithmic penalty. It's possible that right around the time when you added the nofollow tags, an Google algorithm switched to the next gear and blocked your authorship tags. The algorithmic penalty probably needs to expire and as you'd had the nofollow links for such a long time, the penalty takes longer to expire. Another thing to consider: You have a very large website. It takes some while until Google re-crawls every single page multiple times and recognizes the nofollow tags side-wide. Once it's all re-crawled multiple times, it would have to expire. It's the only cause I can see as you've got great back-links, great content and great authority in your field.

Barry Schwartz

06/21/2013 03:12 pm

No, I don't.


06/21/2013 03:16 pm


Jon Loomer

06/21/2013 03:38 pm

Same thing is happening to me. I do get a couple of errors around hatom-feed, though. But sometimes I see my profile photo and sometimes I don't. If you have any solutions for the hatom-feed issue, let me know!


06/21/2013 04:03 pm

Happens to me too. It goes on and off, same with my competitors. I think its because of tests by Google.

Chris Countey

06/21/2013 04:17 pm

Hi Barry, I dropped you a line on Twitter. Please let me know if either of my recommended tests has an impact. Chris

Elizabeth Choi

06/21/2013 04:20 pm

I was wondering if this was due to "FaceRank". Would be curious to know which other authoritative personalities were dropped.

Sandeep Bali

06/21/2013 04:36 pm

You always remind me of the movie Three Musketeers :P

josh bachynski (SEO)

06/21/2013 04:45 pm

then could be a bug as they say, or they just implemented the "don't add authority if it is a site that is still in the untrusted category" addition to the author algo


06/21/2013 09:50 pm

Matt likes to play with your head.


06/21/2013 10:49 pm

Same thing happened to me. For the love of Goog, I couldn't figure out why. Nothing made sense. Finally, I switched avatar pictures, then BLAMO. Back in action.


06/21/2013 11:34 pm

Here is your opportunity to do a case study on CTR with and without authorship markup. Wonder if Google would offer you an incentive for such a case study - I think it would be worth it for them with all the attention you get from webmasters. Or maybe that's why they dropped you? LOL

Greg Fowler

06/22/2013 06:29 pm

Dude, I did a Google search for what I think is the keyword "Google Site Speed Penalty" and your face shows on the highest result. Your face won't show on both results. That has been going on for a while now. So you get to see your face only once in the search results.

Deepesh Agarwal

06/24/2013 05:25 am

I am facing the EXACT same issue, my author pic was visible and is now gone. Since, I did not made any changes this was something definitely from Google's end and it seems I have found the reason. As shown in the attached image, Google is validating everything to be "OK" except the "Automatically detected author name on webpage:" which it is WRONGLY pulling data from my comment section !!!!

Anti-Anti SEO

06/24/2013 07:05 am

Hi Barry, Have you considered adding rel=author to your page? That makes the little picture pop up. If that doesn't work perhaps try a photo without the beard and moustache?

Anti-Pro SEO

06/24/2013 07:12 am

Yes, lose that funny little beard! But, have you considered adding rel=author to your page? I've heard that works.

Anti Anti Anti SEO

06/24/2013 07:31 am

I think it's best he adds rel= "barry schwartz" and then a 1000 pixel by 1000 pixel of just 100% pure schwartz somewhere on the page. Google will then always display his profile pic.

SEO Auntie

06/24/2013 07:34 am

Has he considered the funny little beard algorithm? Apparently profiles with funny little beards will not show on the fourth Mondays of the month.

Anti Somewhat Against SEO

06/24/2013 07:37 am

I believe Matt Cutts at SluuuuurpCon recently announced the funny beard disavow tool.


06/24/2013 12:10 pm

A razor?

steve blackburn

06/24/2013 06:02 pm

I noticed your code is a little different than mine." I am not sure if the /posts is necessary


06/24/2013 07:01 pm

I hope they get rid of this damn authorship thing, or at least make it optional. It's so annoying and distracting.

Aaron Watters

06/24/2013 08:41 pm

Having the same issue with a client whose markup seems correct, had been showing for 3-4 months. I recently changed the profile picture just in case Google didn't like the photo. Currently crossing fingers.

Soni Sharma

06/25/2013 08:51 am

The Reason is very clear Google does not show same author image for multiple webpages results on the same page. As search engine land is more trusted site than seroundtable so it shows your face with not for SER

Barry Schwartz

06/25/2013 09:32 am

It's a more trusted site? How long have you been in the industry?

Soni Sharma

06/25/2013 09:37 am

8 Years, Yes I think so. coz searchengineland has 7 PR and SER has 6. SEL has more traffic than SER as alexa shows. So I came to that conclusion. let me know If I missed something. It will be great If I get something new knowledge on this.

Barry Schwartz

06/25/2013 09:40 am

I am one of the founding writers at SEL. SER was also founded 5 years before. SER always had authorship until a couple months ago. It has nothing to do with trust. I have over 3 million links to this site, none paid.

Soni Sharma

06/25/2013 09:42 am

:) thanks...


06/25/2013 02:43 pm

Hahaha :-)


06/28/2013 02:45 pm

Thats the same thing that happened to me. I lost my face for my blog mbBlogging. it worked earlier. Thats ridiculous.

Floren Martin

07/18/2013 04:09 pm

I have the same problem. In October 2012 my image began to show in google results. Google sent me an email informing of this situation A few months later, my image and label disappeared author I think google also considered spam in the author tag in some cases

Trisha Agarwal

09/04/2013 06:04 am

I have the same problem with my website. The image used to disappear for a few days in the google search results, but it always returned. Now the image has been gone for about 2 weeks now. I used to the test to verify that the image appears – it still tests okay. But it doesn’t appear in the actual google search results. Suggestions on what to check would be appreciated! My Blog Thanks, Shruti


09/10/2013 04:04 pm

Same problem with my Blog also. Doesn't find any reason behind this yet.

Sathiya Kumar

09/11/2013 04:04 am

Me too facing the same problem. I didn't change my profile picture but my face was disappeared on the SERP. Authorship worked for last two months but not for last three days.. :( sad to face this issue..


09/14/2013 11:27 pm

Have today the same problem with my site. Checked a couple of my competitors with profile pictures and theirs seem to have gone missing too. So looks like a Google issue rather than a website or penalty issue.


09/16/2013 10:04 am

Hello, I have the same problem with my authorshippicture, it dissapeared a copuple of days ago. I saw that the picture of you appears in searches. What did you do for this? What it a temporary problem from google?

Sean Hull

09/18/2013 04:28 pm

I've just setup authorship for the first time. The intuitively named "structured data testing tool" says I'm good to go. Yet still nothing in results. I've also turned off personalized results, so I'm seeing global stuff. Huh.

Sean Hull

09/18/2013 04:33 pm

Barry, appears your mug is showing in SERPs again. That led me to this post. Did you do something specific to get it working again? I have a PR5 site, though I only *recently* configured authorship. Should I expect to see it after some period of time in SERPs?

Barry Schwartz

09/18/2013 04:37 pm

Yes, I reported it at

Gaurav Srivastava

10/10/2013 11:15 am

Barry Sir, Better to ask ur question Google Product forum rather than gathering comments on post, and get quick resolution. I did the same just before 2 days, and peoples there helped me a lot. I was also facing the same problem for few weeks. You may check my site on Google. Alternately, you can check the whole conversation here:!msg/webmasters/ETJIA9BCP9I/E_B80lJREiUJ See you in Google search :) Bye,


12/19/2013 12:45 pm

Well, Google has been a way smarter as always and probably that is the reason that why such moves are seen these days. The GOOGLE itself has optimized and filtered this whole process to a greater extent.

Raman Sharma

12/24/2013 11:10 am

Hello sir, My Google plus name with link shows on Google results but not the image..look the screen shot. Please solve out my problem..I hope you can do it..!!


12/27/2013 08:37 am

Hi Sir ! My Google+ image is not sowing up in Google search results . I have verified my email address as well the the markup rel="author" for setting up the authorship for my website How did you image started appearing once again? . Please share the tips to get the image shown in Google search results

Tauseef Alam

01/07/2014 10:08 am

Hi Barry My image from the search result is missing since past 15 days. Since past one and a half year it was working fine. Was there any update from Google? My blog is

Supat Sutti

01/09/2014 03:55 am

My authorship is gone as well :(

Raman Sharma

01/24/2014 12:11 pm

Hello sir, My Google plus name with link shows on Google results but not the image..look the screen shot. Please solve out my problem..I hope you can do it..!!

Scott Kelley

04/18/2014 06:05 am

I've found that the image now only shows once per search engine result. Also for some of you that it doesn't work at all, check your google+ image. Mine worked for a while and then stopped. Here's how I troubleshot it and eventually fixed it:

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