I recently wrote about the Google Authorship photo snippet not being author-dependent, but rather it’s search query dependent. In that post, I showed two examples of the same exact URL in the search results: one search query showed the Google Authorship photo snippet, and another search query showed the same URL (same blog post) without the photo snippet.
I can now, with confidence, say that the Google Authorship photo snippet is most likely not related to the actual author who wrote the content. Just because a certain author wrote an article on your site (and properly verified Google Authorship), doesn’t mean that their photo will appear in the search results when someone searches in Google and that article appears in the search results.
Have a good, quality author that’s Google Authorship verified on your site does NOT mean that their photo will appear in the search results for all (or even some) queries.
Let’s look at a specific example. I have verified my authorship with Google on this site and my authorship is not showing in the search results:
I have verified Google Authorship on this site, and the Rich Snippets Testing Tool shows that Google Authorship is working:
But, for this particular search query, Google is choosing not to show the Google Authorship Photo Snippet in the search results. Not only that, they’re choosing not to show that Authorship has been verified, which is one of the “classes” of Authorship:
1. The Google search result shows the verified author’s photo and name in the search result, like the one below:
2. The Google search result shows the verified author’s name, but no photo, like the one below:
3. The Google search result does not show the verified author’s name or photo in the search results.
So, what is definitely a given is that this is definitely going to change in the future. Expect changes to the Google Authorship Photo Snippets in the search results, as it’s a fluid situation that’s going to change as Google eventually rolls out “author authority”.
Bill Hartzer is Globe Runner’s Senior SEO Strategist. Follow him on Google Plus.