Authorship Brownouts Due to “FaceRank”?

That is what top SEO expert Mike Blumenthal suggests in his blog post: Authorship Brownouts Due to “FaceRank”? here…

Be sure to read his post completely before I really surprise you below :]

Here is my Authorship Two Cents…

I am finding Authorship thumbnails to be very dynamic, and in 3 searches for the same keyword term I know well, in the same browser, I got 3 different sets of images, this morning, after reading this post. I am also finding less author thumbnails showing than what I would expect.

The search was for my money term, so I am familiar with most of my competition for the term, and yes I was logged into Google. I found no author thumbs showing in social search, and only 5 in 2 pages of results, 10 results per page.

Now, in a search for my Google+ money term, don’t you think there would be tons of authorship thumbnails? Yeah, you would, so would I.

But there was something really odd too…

Most of the author thumbs I saw displayed, had images for people with less than 100 to 200 Google+ followers, quoted in the SERP. I myself only showed in 1 out of 3 repeated searches, created by clicking the search button again and again.

First, I return to my original my stance on this: That not only is Google search so highly customized that you can’t believe anything you see in a Google Search, logged in or logged out.

Even on a clean machine, using your home connection and IP address, your results are heavily customized. I claim this because I have been testing it since 2009, when Google Customized Search rolled out, full time.

Forget social search, and the word “Incognito” is the worst way to describe what Google calls real search results these days. Incognito has nothing to do with Google search not being customized. Incognito is in fact, Google Customized Search.

Second, I believe that Google is promoting less followed people in Google Search, rather than people like myself who is highly followed.

Third, Google is less likely to display people you know and people you follow in these highly customized results, including your own thumbnails. Judging your authorship success by Googling your keyword terms can mislead you.

We have been seeing my own thumbs often not show when logged in as me, Chris Lang. But minutes later, from other machines on other Google logins, in my own home, the same search does show my authorship thumbnails. This has been true for over a year now.

One last thought: When I searched ‘Authorship Brownouts Due to “FaceRank”?’ …. Copying and pasting Mike Blumenthal’s headline for exact accuracy, AJ Kohn was the only person who showed in the 10 results returned. And it was his G+ post that did so as in the screenshot below.

(click for full size)

Notice Blumenthal’s own blogs above it do not show author thumbs?

Now that is NOT the most interesting that has happened so far….

Two hours later, in Social Search, (SPYW – search plus one your world) this blog post showed up.

(click for full size)

Then in Organic search, (since I refuse to use the misnomer “Incognito”) this blog post outranked AJ Kohn, with my thumbnail showing.

(click for full size)

Here is the same search logged out, but let me remind you, this is still a customized search for me, since I am still in the same browser, on the same IP address, in Denver, CO.

(click for full size)

I did check this result from a Internet Cafe PC, and it is accurate and non customized to me as it is above.

So what is really going on with Authorship here? Only Google knows, and we keep guessing!

UPDATE: Be sure to note, in Blumenthal’s post, he did say, he just changed to color for B&W yesterday. It usually takes 3 days for G+ thumbs to update.

But my main interest in this test is to see who ranks where from different links on a highly, highly niche term. Expect Mike to show in this search on Monday in color.

2 comments on “Authorship Brownouts Due to “FaceRank”?

  1. David Carroll on said:

    My posts only show in search when I am logged in, with G+ photo thumb. I have very small Google+ presence.