Recently I was reading an article about Google authorship over at Tim Bonner’s website titled: Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking About Google Authorship. To be honest I don’t think about authorship that much.
I originally set mine up back in April 2013. It was available before this, but I wasn’t one to jump on board right away. I wanted to wait until it had been around for a while so I could see how it was working out for others first.
After I got my Google Plus account setup, it only took about a week before I started seeing my image in Google search results. Ever since then I never bothered to recheck my pages or posts with the structured data testing tool to see if there were any errors or problems. It was one of those things that were set it, and forget it. As long as I saw my image in Google I assumed everything was good to go.
In Tim’s article he talks about a 15% reduction in rich snippets and authorship display, as well as the possibility of three different classes.
I do recall reading a few articles awhile back about how Google was going to start penalizing those that were taking advantage of or misusing rich snippets/authorship.
Since I don’t really keep track of my authorship status that much it would be difficult to say for sure if I have any reduction in Google search results. When I do happen to check it seems up and down. One day my image will appear for an article in particular, and a few days later it won’t.
So after reading Tim’s article I figured no harm in double-checking a few of my posts with the structured data testing tool since it has been a while.
The first thing I noticed after entering a random link to one of my articles is I was getting an Error: Missing required field “updated”.
Then, I logged into Google Webmaster Tools and checked:
Sure enough there were 153 hentry errors / Missing: updated
There were a lot of potential fixes floating around for this. I opted for wrapping <span class=”date updated”></span> around the original date code for my individual blog posts, which would look sort of like this:
<span class=”date updated”>Original php/date code</span>
After doing so I cleared my website cache and rechecked the page again, and the error went away.
Hopefully if all is well in a week or so the errors in my Google Webmaster Tools account should start to drop.
Now I doubt that fixing this will lead to a surge in my authorship image being displayed more in Google search results, but at least the errors are gone and I feel a little better about that.
The point here is if you haven’t checked your posts lately with the structured data testing tool you might spend a few moments to do so to see if you receive any errors. Also, if you have a Google Webmaster Tools account take a peek at the structured data section as well. It never hurts to check these from time to time to make sure all is well.
I wouldn’t have even thought about checking my authorship status if I hadn’t read Tim’s article.