I volunteer time in the Webmaster Forums helping users with authorship implementation and one question that comes up frequently is, “Why can't Google detect my name?”
A great deal of the time the reason Google is not detecting the name is because the user is not testing a proper page in the SDTT, for example, the homepage. The homepage doesn‘t generally display a byline. If a proper page with a byline from the user's site is tested the results are positive, Google detects the author's name.
Having said this, there are users who are testing an appropriate page with a byline but Google does not detect their name. I happen to be one of those users.
I’ve invested quite a bit of time trying to find a solution and after all kinds of testing everything pointed to the format of the byline. Initially I assumed it had something to do with the fact that I changed my profile name. Why make this assumption? On occasion, the author snippet displays the old profile name. On other occasions, on the same search results page, one author snippet will display the old profile name and another author snippet will display the new profile name (a mystery for another day).
Even though Google couldn’t detect my name, knock on wood, it didn’t cause any issue for me, author information returned in search but unfortunately, the same can’t be said for others.
In the past week, the question has come up quite often again in the forums. I decided to play around yet again with the byline in hopes that I could find a solution.
I’m happy to share I found something that worked and I’m hoping it will work for others too.
It never occurred to me that the order of the elements in the byline (Posted on/Posted by) would make a difference but it did, instead of displaying the byline like this, Posted on Friday, 11th March 2014 by Grace Massa Langlois
I changed it to display like this Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 11th March 2014
This small change did the trick; Google detects the name.#FYI
, I've also noticed that not all users can enter their Custom ID Profile URL
in the Authorship Email Verification
section of the SDTT and receive correct results. If the tool returns authorship not verified, I recommend entering your Number ID Profile URL
before investigating any further.#authorship