Category: Author: Michael Brinson
Last month Mike Blumenthal shared his experience with Google Authorship and how his author photo stopped appearing on his articles in the search results. He checked all of his settings several times but couldn’t find anything that was amiss. When he finally had some extra time he reached out to some of his SEO guru friends including Aaron Weiche to see what thoughts they might have about the issue. The conclusion they drew together was that Google Authorship has some kind of face recognition filter that was affecting Mike’s photo. Aaron Weiche dubbed this newly discovered behavior “FaceRank.” The upshot is that Google removes author photos that it doesn’t think is pretty enough.
So, the question arises – What does google think is an “ugly” authorship image?
Unfortunately there is no straight-forward answer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Google is no exception to this rule. There are some general rules of thumb, however, that do seem to contribute positively to general appeal of your Authorship SEO work in the ever fickle eyes of Google.
Rule #1 – Show your colorful personality.
According to the post from Mike, Google does seem to favor pictures that are in color as opposed to black and white. This probably stems from the fact that Google has a hard time viewing anything in only two dimensions – Right or Wrong, True or False, Good or Evil – all foreign concepts to Google.
Rule #2 – Put your best face forward.
It would seem that, in general, google doesn’t like it when you shy away from the camera. Side profile shots, half-face shots, or anything other than plain, forward-facing pictures might cause google to chase after other suitors.
Rule #3 – Be real. Don’t act like you’re someone you’re not.
Google is very keen on knowing who you are. They don’t like you to associate your authorship picture with, for example, a business name. They want to get to know the real you – not some mask you’re trying to hide behind. So, be sure to use your real [First Name] + [Last Name].
Rule #4 – Take your hat off when the Goog goes by.
While the Goog is pretty good at face detection, in some cases it seems to struggle when there is more on your head than just your hair or scalp. Or maybe it detects your face just fine, but has a strong dislike for hats.
Rule #5 – Your location matters (and sometimes it’s good to move).
Some webmasters have reported that sometimes when they’ve experienced an “authorship brownout” just moving the location of the authorship markup coding was enough to get Google to find them attractive once again. Even Google likes a change of scenery every so often.
There you have it. Now get out there and make yourself look pretty so Google will like you and send some love your way.