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Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

google authorship fails Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and PuzzlesPast weekend was one of the rare occasions when I didn’t go anywhere with my family and decided to stay at home to get prepared for my presentation at soon-to-come PubCon New Orleans where I am speaking on optimizing your content marketing to Google’s authorship and potential Google AuthorRank update.

Hence I had some quality time going through my Author Stats in Google Webmaster Tools Labs and have come across some interesting results I am sharing here.

The Ugly…

It’s not a secret that Google is trying to determine the author of non-verified content and they could really a better job:

Google assigns Mashable-scraped article to me (I authored the original Mashable article, not this one):

google authorship fails 01 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

There’s no way the original article sends fewer positive signals to Google than the scraped one; it’s also verified as authored by me: So why include its scraped version in my article list?

Question: Can a poor full-of-duplicate content site potentially negatively affect my author rank?

I am not the author…

I was really puzzled to see this article assigned to me:

google authorship fails 02 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

Yes, I did write a couple of pieces on Advanced Google parameters (Can Google know that?) and one of my articles was for SEOmoz, but not this one!

I am looking at the article, scrolling down to my name and find the possible issue: “Edited by“:

google authorship fails 03 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

Come on Google, that’s just my comment, NOT the whole piece!

Google Seems to Know I am into Guest Blogging!

Ok, I started with “the Ugly”, but this one is a good thing, I guess. Even though, this is another NOT MINE piece (if you take a look, you’ll even see there’s no way to assign it to me as there’s no usual “by” signal Google seems to be liking), the piece mentions guest blogging, MyBlogGuest (which I hope Google knows is mine) and my name – which probably makes Google thinks I am the author!

google authorship fails 04 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

BTW: I know I may be assuming too much here but I see a positive sign that Google isn’t assinging to me just any article I am commenting at, but selects topic that are close to my expertise: advanced search and guest blogging!

Just Puzzled

Ok, I seem to at least be able to guess the reasoning behind the above three fails, but this one? I am puzzled!

google authorship fails 05 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

I am not a moderator or member of that group; I haven’t posted there once and there’s no mention of my name on that page whatsoever… The only thing: I do know and I am connected to the moderators of that community – that’s the only connection! Still not enough to make me the author of that page icon smile Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

google authorship fails 06 Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles

Conclusion

I get it, Google Authorship is still work in progress and Google AuthorRank will remain the future plan until they learn to collect authorship data properly. It’s fun to watch though!

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  1. 7 Responses to “Google Trying to Identify the Author: Fails and Puzzles”

  2. This is pretty funny. But all laughing (and worries for you) aside, it does show that Google is trying very hard in these early stages to determine the authorship of each article, and they are looking for signals such as “edited by”.

    I imagine “written by” should do it – that’s what I have, with my name linked to my Google profile with re=”author” added – and Google still doesn’t show my avatar in the SERPs.

    Either Google is stalking you or shunning me.

    By David Leonhardt on Apr 9, 2013

  3. Ann,

    There more people point out Authorship issues, the better. There are a ton of problems with Authorship, specifically with Google proactively trying to make connections where neither the page owner or writer has attempted to make any on their own.

    I’m not sure if you have ever come across my situation but mine started off as humorous and now I am greatly bothered by it. Everyone that has the exact same name as me on LinkedIn and on Quora have been attributed to my authorship. That’s more than 400 social media profiles that don’t belong to me for which I get webmaster tool stats for and the occasional headshot snippet in search. I actually made an easy presentation that explains what I’ve encountered and hope that the right people see it and fix it.

    Your Authorship for an entire community that you have nothing to do with is one of the craziest things I have seen.

    http://www.slideshare.net/seanbash/google-authorship-bugs-and-problems-17981414

    By Sean Murray on Apr 9, 2013

  4. @David, Google is ignoring some of my verified articles and instead trying to assign something else to me. Go figure!

    @Sean, yes, this is pretty much scary! Thanks for sharing your case -> I have also started a discussion at Threadwatch and featured it there!
    http://www.threadwatch.org/node/18438

    By Ann Smarty on Apr 9, 2013

  5. Thanks for the share over there. Really glad again to connect with someone else that is genuinely concerned about these issues!

    By Sean Murray on Apr 9, 2013

  6. Indeed a Nice post Ann. Authorship is coming with the bang in search industry. Also rich snippets are being crucial factor within search results. Lets see how this can be help to make good impact for the online marketing. Also thanks for sharing this scenario and it does actually in serps.

    By Sanket Patel on Jul 11, 2013

  7. Thank you very much for this. I have the same problem. I just realized google add me as an author of some useless twiter account of some girl from Belgium who has shared one of our videos. How ridicules…can this not harm me as an author?

    By July Ronder on Nov 11, 2013

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