I marked up my site with the rel=author a few months ago, basically as soon it was announced back in June. I followed the instructions set forth by the powers that be (aka, Google), but still nothing has happened.
Here is what I currently see in the SERPs:
What I do not understand is why the rel=author tag works for some people yet not for others. For instance, my boss Tom Critchlow marked up his personal site with it, and within about a day his picture was showing in the SERPs. Here’s how it looks:
It even shows on the Distilled blog:
This can only lead me to conclude one of two things:
- I’ve not correctly marked something up, probably linking from my Google+ profile to these sites; or
- Google has a whitelist and they’re arbitrarily allowing some people and not others in.
I’m honestly suspecting that it is the second, but just to be sure, here is my installation of it:
Linking from every article back to my “About” page using rel=author
When I first implemented the markup, I was actually linking back to my author archives, which I then realized I had blocked using Yoast’s SEO plugin. Oops. Even though I unblocked the author archives, I didn’t have a good way of marking up the site. This site is a bit more complicated than a single-author blog, because I’ve also had a guest post (and I’m open to having more, by the way). So I had to come up with a way to link back to my About page from the pages where I am the author. Sigh.
Thankfully, Joost was once again to the rescue! In this article he gives a way to connote a custom author page for the blog post author (in my case, for when the author is “admin”, aka me). I inserted this custom code to my template and voila, it links to my John Doherty About page.
Linking from my About page to Google+ using rel=”me”
Then I needed to link to my Google+ profile from my About page, right? If each blog post points to this page using rel=author, then this is the next step.
So I ran over to good old Google Images and fired up a “google plus” query. Copy -> Paste and I had a Google+ icon on the bottom of that page. Then I linked to my Google+ profile using this code:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/112310499813770104747“ rel=”me”>
Linking from my Google+ page back to this site as a contributor
Finally, I added a link from Google+ back to this page, so that Google knows that I am a contributor/author on this site (though if they can tell who you are on other sites, shouldn’t they know this already? I guess this is just another case of us needing to hold Google’s hand…). Here’s a screenshot of how I did this (and curiously enough, they’ve changed this a few times since I marked it up):
I’ve kind of accepted that at this point, Google just does not want to show my face in the SERPs for some reason, though they show it on News items, such as when I publish blog posts on SEOmoz:
All of this leads me to ask why Google is showing the photo for some people and not others. Brian Whalley from Hubspot has also marked up his site, but has not had any luck getting his photo to show. The only factor I can currently figure is that Google needs to have a certain amount of trust in you as an author before your photo will show, and maybe part of that is being in a lot of circles.