Google Authorship By Line Sometimes Does Not Show Image

May 21, 2014 • 8:35 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Mark Traphagen, who follows Google+ and authorship more than anyone else I know (it is a bit obsessive in a good way), said that Google has ended the byline only Authorship results in Google. He posted this on Google+ and I scratched my head.

What does that mean? Did Google ever show a byline without an image? Mark said they did starting in December and now, all bylines show images. Well, truth is, it doesn't seem to be.

I searched for [google authorship] and spotted many cases of bylines with the author's image but also a case or two without.

Here are screen shots:

With Image:

Google Authorship By Line With Image

Without Image:

Google Authorship By Line Without Image

So I did learn something new, I really thought they always showed images, but I guess they do not.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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Comments:

Mark Traphagen

05/21/2014 01:06 pm

Barry, I searched "google authorship" incognito and went down 15 pages and could not find a single byline only result. As a matter of fact, I couldn't find the result by Jody Resnick at all until I added "trighton" to the search. That search does come up byline only. But there has definitely been a major change. Since December 2013 a great many authors were reduced to what I call "second class authorship" (byline only - no photo) and you would see them sprinkled throughout SERPs like "google authorship" that showed authorship results. Now I've been checking dozens and dozens of queries since last night and have not found a single one, except your anomalie, and that only when entering a very long tail query. NOTE: it has been the case for two years that if an author has more than one authorship result on the same results page for a query, only one will get a photo; the others will get a byline. That continues. Also, this may be a US only change for now, as Steve Morgan provided an example from the UK of a byling only in a ranking result.

Durant Imboden

05/21/2014 02:36 pm

This has been going on for at least a few months. For my articles on our main site, I sometimes get a byline without a photo (never a photo, as far as I can tell) although I used to get both. For our companion site and blogs, which are less authoritative than the main site and rank lower in Google's SERPs, I consistently get a byline AND a photo. Go figure.

Andrew Cilio

05/21/2014 02:54 pm

Seems like they're actively testing Authorship display week-by-week. I've seen specific results go from no byline at all to "second class" to--once again--a rich snippet (image), and all within the past few weeks or so. Mark, I've followed some of the awesome work you've done relating to Authorship in the past and would like to get your opinion on what criteria Google was using a couple weeks ago to distinguish between what results were worthy of only "second class" status and those authors privileged enough to retain their rich snippets/photos? Do you feel the main factor was the quality of the website hosting that specific piece of content, the page quality itself, the author's own "authority" (however Google chooses to define that internally), or something else?

Jamo

05/21/2014 03:17 pm

I find it odd that people are so concerned with their picture showing or not showing. You do realize that Google is always testing and their tests occur within different data centers. Just like rankings, you may not see the same thing twice within the same hour! My initial feeling is that the different ways of presenting the Authorship (byline only, picture and byline, & nothing) will be the breakdowns of the Author-trust level. If you are a trusted author, Google will show the byline and picture. And frankly, until Google comes out with information this is all conjecture.

Mark Traphagen

05/21/2014 04:44 pm

Great question, Andrew. I've been tracking a large set of author profiles since December. It's still hard to tell exactly what the factors are, but it does still appear to me that site factors are far more important than author factors.

Arpit

05/22/2014 06:37 am

But how can we retain authorship image for long time? I have placed authorship for my website & it has appeared only couple of days. Now authorship image disappear from last month.

Gaurav Srivastava

05/22/2014 07:50 am

Site value over author value??

Guest

05/22/2014 09:24 am

Dear Barry, I too think that whatever Mark claimed is correct, as since December Google started displaying those two types of authorship details. For one of my blog they were not displaying the picture, though displaying the author bio only, while for other both the things were displaying. But since last few days, I can sometime see the image as well, and sometime the author bio only. Do check this attached image Mark, I guess Google is still displaying both the things.

Alok Vats

05/22/2014 09:28 am

I am not sure if the comment is being posted successfully or not, and hence I am submitting it once again. If it is repeated then Barry you can delete any one which you want. I too think that whatever Mark claimed is correct, as since December Google started displaying those two types of authorship details. For one of my blog they were not displaying the picture, though displaying the author bio only, while for other both the things were displaying. But since last few days, I can sometime see the image as well, and sometime the author bio only. Do check this attached image Mark, I guess Google is still displaying both the things.

Sundeep Reddy

05/22/2014 11:25 am

Am seeing this from past two weeks.

Mark Traphagen

05/22/2014 11:43 am

Arpit, I monitor several hundred authorship profiles on a regular basis and I can tell you that there is constant tinkering going on with the authorship algorithm in recent months. The people who get the full authorship most consistently appear to be those who publish regularly on well-known, high authority sites, or whose posts tend to get a good amount of good links.

Mark Traphagen

05/22/2014 11:46 am

Yes, that's what I said. It is far more common for people who consistently get a full authorship snippet to be people who publish on high authority sites than to find people who publish on more obscure sites. However, in the latter case, if one of those obscure sites starts gaining some link authority, and if in particular articles by the author in question do, then we sometimes start to see the snippet for that author for content on that site, even if his or her work on other sites still gets byline-only or nothing.

Gaurav Srivastava

05/22/2014 12:01 pm

It means there are very less chances for new authors who're posting content on new sites.

steve

05/22/2014 03:14 pm

My image stopped showing months ago but still shows "by". Not sure what happened!

Mark Traphagen

05/22/2014 03:26 pm

I would argue that it isn't Google's job to give people or site's "chances." It's the job of people and/or sites to earn a reputation and build an audience that gets them to a place where Google should highlight them as a significant author.

Andrew Cilio

05/22/2014 09:50 pm

This is what I've seen in practice as well. Nice to know I was theorizing down a path already traveled;) Thanks Mark.

Gaurav Srivastava

05/23/2014 05:04 am

Well said Mark!

Ivan Kondaninski

07/16/2014 10:52 am

I also noticed that the author image is not showing. Google displays the name only on all pages. I tested this in the Google snipet tool and it says works perfectly fine. This is kind of annoying for me, I hope they will start showing the author image again.

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