How I finally fixed my author image not showing in google search

Man Cave Zen authorship image showing up in google search resultsSo I’ve had my google+ author image showing up on Graywolf Survival‘s search results for about a year.  Last month, they stopped showing up altogether, as well as for Man Cave Zen. Here’s how I fixed it.

I started Graywolf Survival a little over a year ago when I was in Afghanistan. I needed something to keep my mind busy so I didn’t think about getting blown up as I lay down in bed every night like I did in Iraq. As such, I did a LOT of learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), google’s semantic search, and things like Click-Through Rates (CTR) and online marketing.

One of the key things that most sites still don’t take advantage of is using a google+ author page tied to their site, giving me a big advantage in non-SEO niche circles.

I’m not going to go into why you should have one because there are a lot of sites out there that can explain it better than I can. Suffice it to say that if you write anything online, you need to do this. If you really want to get deep into why and how to work social media, including google+, you need to pick up a copy of 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!.

Google+ authorship was working

A couple months ago, I started Man Cave Zen. It’s grown a lot faster than Graywolf Survival did in the same time period, mostly because I’m a lot better at SEO and using social networks than I was a couple months into GS. Of course, part of that could be that I don’t have rocket and mortar attacks a couple nights a week here in Phoenix.

At first, I kept the two sites completely separate. Then I started thinking that I’m doing a disservice to my new site by not capitalizing on the authority of what I’ve already been doing this past year with GS, so I changed from having two google+ profiles to just one, and switched my author name on both sites to be “Scott Kelley” instead of “Scott Kelley” and “Graywolf Survival” like I had them.

Well, I went through all the trouble of making the switch and waited for the images to show up. They did. Dandy.

Then all of a sudden my authorship images weren’t showing up anymore

Then a month or so ago, I noticed one day that my images for Man Cave Zen weren’t showing up in google when I searched for anything. I checked the Rich Snippets tool and saw minor errors but nothing serious. I checked the Author Stats in Google Webmaster Tools and it had the wrong information. I messed around with things for a few days and even though I fixed all the minor errors, I still had no images. Then I realized a few days later that my image didn’t show up in google for GS either. WTF over?

I went to google’s troubleshooting page – no joy. I spent many days, going from forum to forum and asking questions on facebook, google+, and wherever else I could find someone who posted how to put images in the search results. Unfortunately, most of the time either I’d get the standard,

Google does not guarantee that Rich Snippets will show up for search results from a particular site even if structured data is marked up and can be extracted successfully according to the testing tool.

Well no shit, Sherlock

What a ridiculous cop-out answer that is, which is basically saying, you’re shit outta luck because they don’t always show so if it isn’t working then you might as well just give up. All most as aggravating as when someone asks advice about which product they should choose in a particular situation, invariably some idiot pipes up with, “you need to choose which one is right for you.” Thanks for playing dumbass; let the big boys talk now.

Even worse, I’d explain in excruciating detail the steps that I had already taken, and all the symptoms and history of the issue, and I’d spend the next several days bouncing back and forth with answering some other idiot who just kept asking me things that I had already mentioned that I had done, such as checking it with the rich snippets testing tool. And of course, some other idiot would mention that google doesn’t guarantee that they show the images. It’s like that’s some kind of badge of honor to know that little tidbit of knowledge.

I started to get pretty frustrated.

What makes it doubly difficult  is that even if you fix the problem while you’re going through all the changes, you may not know for days or weeks that it’s actually fixed.

BTW, one quick way to check if your page is set up “correctly” with google authorship is to set up a shortcut in your browser and edit the link in the shortcut to say:


Then when you want to check one of your pages, just go to your page and hit that link in your browser. It’ll take you to the rich snippets testing tool for that page. Pretty cool, right?

Now understand, some time late in 2013, google started getting stricter on which pages showed images in their SERPs. It just wouldn’t make much sense to drop ever single page of my site – both sites. Man Cave Zen is relatively new but Graywolf Survival is literally one of the top survival and prepper sites out there and steadily gains in the rankings every single month. Something must be amiss in the mechanism that allows images. Since it was affecting both sites, it had to be something dealing with my google+ profile.

One of the problems I ran into is that somewhere (and I didn’t keep the link unfortunately), someone mentioned that when they changed their author page that they were dropped off. Could this be the problem?

Then a few days ago, I was searching through different things that affect CTR in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and came across a few interesting articles on what kind of faces make people more likely to click and I happen to come across a comment about someone losing their images because the facial recognition software that google uses some how came ’round and wiped them out. You’d think that if the Rich Snippets tool says that everything’s fine that google would have had it check the facial recognition – or at least mentioned something about it still being an issue. That comment led me to a Cypress North article titled, Google Authorship Not Showing Up? Try These 14 Tips To Get Authorship Working For You and another one at AUTHORSHIP BROWNOUTS DUE TO “FACERANK”?

. Could it actually be my image?

Here’s the image that I was using with my google+ authorship profile:.

Scott Kelley's old google+ profile picture smoking a cigar in a cowboy hat

I do know a thing or two about facial recognition software but it’s possible that due to the vast scale of what google has to deal with, maybe it’s just not quite that good. Any normal non-civilian facial recognition software would easily be able to decide that this is a person and most likely, who it is if they’re in the system. What’s interesting though is that even facebook’s recognition software doesn’t pick it up (which you can tell by looking at the uploaded photo in a facebook profile and mousing over it, which will then outline the face with a box if it sees a face). Facebook has no problem with sunglasses, but it, and apparently google+, has a problem with something with this picture.

Here’s how I got my author image to show up in google’s search results

I decided to pull out some variables such as shading the eyes from the hat, the cigar, and the sunglasses. I have a suspicion that the issue is actually the two bright reflections in the glasses but it’s just a guess. Here’s the photo I replaced it with:

Scott Kelley's new google+ authorship profile image that works

That worked! Within 24 hours (maybe much sooner), my images were back in the search results for Man Cave Zen:

Man Cave Zen authorship image showing up in google search results

And it also now works for Graywolf Survival:

Graywolf Survival authorship image showing up in google search results

Now one thing I notices as I was doing this article, when I went up to my google+ authorship page to download the images for this article, I noticed that if I mouse over my new image inside my google+ photos, I get a circle around my face with a yellow box saying, “Click face to tag:”

google+ author image with click face to tag facial recognition

So as a quick sanity check, I went back to the google+ profile photos and pulled up the one with the hat and cigar that wasn’t working in the search results and guess what – no circle!

So, this isn’t a completely scientific test with a large sample size and controlled variables but my suggestion if your images aren’t showing up in the search engine results but rich snippets is showing everything’s fine, is to first check your google+ avatar and see if you get a circle with the “click face to tag” box when you mouse over it. If not, that’s most likely your problem – even if it worked previously. Even if you do get a circle, the algorithm that decides if you get an image or not may be more picky than whatever mechanism triggers the circle, so change your image. I purposely wen’t pretty far with making it full front, just face, no colors, and nothing blocking or shading my face. Try that first. Once you get it working, you can try out new images.

Up next: optimizing the best photo for the highest CTR through some research and split testing.


References used in this article: Google Authorship Not Showing Up? Try These 14 Tips To Get Authorship Working For YouInfographic: How To Troubleshoot Google Authorship Issues, A Step-By-Step Flowchart, Google product forums, Google product forums 2Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search resultsUpdated: Did The Authorship Reduction In Google Begin? Yes

The importance of having a routine

Keeping yourself on schedule with a calendar

One thing I've learned over the years of dealing with a persistent proclivity for procrastination is the importance of following a routine. Without one, I wouldn't be making a living online and wouldn't have written this article. A good routine … [Continue reading]

Dawn of the planet of the apes movie trailer – This. Looks. AWESOME!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes July 11, 2014 - Man Cave Zen

Whoo hoo baby! The next Planet of the Apes movie is coming. Looks like it's gonna be the best one ever. Post apocalyptic war to control the planet. Love it! If you love post-apocalyptic movies, this should be right up your alley. Eight years have … [Continue reading]

Why I don’t date dumb girls anymore

Why I don't date dumb girls anymore

I just don't get why girls think they have to act dumb to to get a guy. Guys who have the luxury of choosing whom they date are a strange bunch. Some date ridiculously hot girls. Some date famous ones. Why do a lot of these guys date dumb … [Continue reading]

Open wine without a corkscrew

Open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew using a shoe Man Cave Zen

How to open wine without a corkscrew (with video) I'm gonna show you a video on how to open a bottle of wine with your shoe. This is a pretty cool trick. So sometimes you're trying to be all old-fashioned so you take her out on a picnic with some … [Continue reading]

How to sacrifice pawns to help your SEO

Sacrifice pawn for SEO

I spend a lot of time working on SEO. I've found a way to bump up those stubborn websites that just won't move up in the rankings by using the linkjuice of other sites. In fact, so much that I spent several days coming up with a single page that I … [Continue reading]

The top 10 best SEO websites to learn search engine optimization

Best SEO websites

In order to be successful making money online, you need search engine traffic. SEO websites are your best bang for the buck if you have the luxury of doing it yourself. If not, you should hire an SEO expert (why do you have a website if you aren't … [Continue reading]

The top 10 best websites to learn how to make an income online and work from anywhere

Work from anywhere - sailboat and beer

I make my living online. As such, I spend a lot of time learning how to make an income online with newsletters, affiliate links, promotions, ebooks, and whatever else works. Thanks to this page, you won't have to spend as much time figuring out which … [Continue reading]

Change your life with a bucket list in 7 easy steps

Use a bucket list to change your life

Making a bucket list could be the most important thing you do in your life. I'm gonna show you how to use this list to figure out what you really want in life and how to get it. A bucket list is not just a list of things to do before you die, it's … [Continue reading]

Badass rat rod bobber Desert Warrior Harley

Desert Warrior Harley

This Desert Warrior rat rod bobber Harley is functional as much as it is awesome-looking. Fully equipped with a medical kit, survival kit, and comms. Ok, so for you purists, it's not a real bobber. It's kind of bobber-esque. It's not a pure rat … [Continue reading]

Young Soldier returns early from war and surprises Dad, then Sister, then Mom

Soldier surprising family by coming home early

I had the honor today of helping the kid next door surprise his dad, sister, and mom by returning early from Afghanistan and showing up at their offices in Phoenix, AZ where we live. Watch their reaction and you can get a glimpse of what we fight for … [Continue reading]

Dad lets son pull his tooth out with a rocket

kid pulls his tooth out with a model rocket

Dad lets son pull his tooth with a model rocket - while he films it This is so epic I had to share it with you real quick as soon as I came across it. It's already had over 2 million views! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPhRiaNW4UQ This has … [Continue reading]

10 Awesome outdoor bath tubs for your man cave ideas

outdoor cauldron tub

An outdoor tub? Yes, please! A man cave isn't just a den, garage or game room. It's any damn place you claim as your own. Why limit yourself to inside? Here are 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing for an awesome outdoor tub you can soak … [Continue reading]

Start a fire without matches using a cheap Fresnel lens

start a fire with a backup fresnel lens

As you should know by now, you should have backup methods to do important things like starting a fire or purifying water. A good backup is something cheap, something lightweight, something that doesn't take up much room, and something that doesn't … [Continue reading]

Don’t waste your time trying to make money with a blog.

making money online - time management

Are you thinking about making money on the internet with a blog? I've wasted a lot of time trying to make money on the internet in the past 10 years+.  Time that I could have spent doing other things, such as making money elsewhere. I made a LOT of … [Continue reading]

Badass moment of the day: Incredible simultaneous flying back kicks!

Two karate kickers spin kick at the same time

I know a good fight; I've been in a lot of fights in my life. I also know the ecstasy when you know you've fought a hard battle and just dealt the winning blow. I grew up the smallest and most smartass kid in well over a dozen schools. Then joined … [Continue reading]

So you think you have what it takes to make money online?

Man Cave Zen update

There are a lot of people out there that want to make a living online. I've been doing this for a long time now and just got to the point this year where I can live off my online income. Granted, my expenses are a tad higher than most people but I … [Continue reading]

Throw out your steak sauce! How to cook the most delicious steak you’ve ever had

The perfect medium rare ribeye steak

Best steak I've ever had! The other day, I wrote an article about how marinades don't do what you think they do to your steak. In that, I mentioned that a dry rub is a better alternative. I decided to put some of those contents together, and what … [Continue reading]

Best. Vodka. Ever. And it’s Irish!

My favorite vodka: Boru Vodka. Here's my review

So I'm about to lay down something I've wanted to do for a long time: a Boru Irish Vodka review. What you may not know is that it's an Irish vodka (Yay!) but there are even more surprises. Boru Irish Vodka is the best vodka ever and strangely enough, … [Continue reading]

Stop tying your tie like an old dude

How to tie a tie: the Eldridge Knot

Knowing how to tie a tie is basic skill very man should learn. Luckily, even with the wussification of America, most guys know how to tie a tie - at least a Half Windsor knot, if nothing else. Not many have taken the time to learn anything … [Continue reading]

Want the best chili tomorrow that you’ve ever tasted? Have tacos tonight.

make chili with leftover taco meat

So we made the best freaking tacos ever the other day with a recipe I've messed with for quite a while. As I mentioned in that article, you can easily turn leftover taco meat into a scrumptious chili experience. Making chili out of leftover taco meat … [Continue reading]

Everything you know about marinating meat is wrong!

Juicy board sauce with oil and herbs for meat

Those of you who know me, know that I'm pretty big on trying to track down the truth about things by either trying them myself or going to reputable sources. I posted a pic the other day of my working lunch, which consisted of a steak that was soaked … [Continue reading]

Your tacos suck. Try this recipe instead.

Man Cave Tacos

So you may be thinking that you really like tacos because love Taco Bell after a night of drinking. You prolly thought that dancer you woke up with last Saturday was hot when you took her through the drive-thru the night before too. Well prepare to … [Continue reading]

Hold your manhood in your hands with this tactical battle mug

Awesome badass tactical OPMOD battle mug

Why? Because BEER! Ok, first of all, this tactical battle mug is bad ass. It's made out of 6061 billet aluminum and has an anodized mil spec type III finish (whatever that is). Having a man cave is all about attitude. This thing has it in … [Continue reading]

What I did the first week of this site

Man Cave Zen update

Just a quick update of what I've done so far on this new blog. Here's what I managed to accomplish between last night and today: Got domain name figured out and bought (mancavezen.com) That took a freaking while, actually. I was trying to … [Continue reading]

Forget the stupid oyster (yuck) – the world is your freaking man cave!

Scott's Man Cave - Man Cave Zen

So I started a new blog. After the crazy success of Graywolf Survival due to finally figuring out SEO this past year, I figured it was time to branch out and write a blog that's a bit more mainstream which allows me to talk about a whole lot of … [Continue reading]

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed