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Rel=Author Anomaly – Is Google Confused or Clever?

(Google+)

social media strategist

The Fresh Egg social media team has been testing a number of features surrounding Google authorship recently. This has included looking at rel=publisher, Google enhanced listings and avatar image settings (look out for further blog posts on these in the coming weeks). While we were testing rel=author, we spotted an anomaly that we couldn’t explain or ignore, so we thought we would share it with you.

Google choosing wrong author

I recently searched for my blog r&d1 Here’s the post on the Fresh Egg blog; I went back and checked and it was definitely written by me. r&d2

Multiple blog authors

Dara Fitzgerald does also have authorship set up on the Fresh Egg blog, but this does not explain why Google decided to pull in his rel=author. Is the fact his name is in the post title connected to Google’s decision to show his authorship? Does it favour him as an author for this post as it’s about him and/or he has a larger network on Google+ than me? Interestingly, looking at this SERP where Samantha Noble has also written about Dara Fitzgerald, it still shows her rel=author avatar, leading us to believe that this is related to Dara also having rel=author set up for the Fresh Egg blog. R&D3

The plot thickens…

When testing in the Structured Data Testing Tool, Google recognises that I am the author. R&D4We initially made the conclusion that this had occurred due to rel=author being set up for Dara and myself on the blog. However, to test this further, Dara's authorship was removed from the Fresh Egg blog and I continued to check back to see if anything changed. It didn't. Google still chooses to display Dara as the author two weeks after authorship has been removed.

Have you experienced anything similar to this or any other instances of Google having a play with rel=author? Let us know in the comments.

Here at Fresh Egg we have time each month dedicated to research and development so we are able to further explore areas of digital marketing like this that interest us. If you like the sound of that, why not apply to work at Fresh Egg. You will find the current vacancies and how to apply here.



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