Does anyone know what causes the exclusion of a profile picture in the authorship information in the Google SERPs?

For some reason, my profile picture has disappeared from the author information in the Google SERPs. The 'by author name - in xxx Google+ Circles' is still showing, but without a head-shot. I'm having this issue for all websites I post content on.

For some of these websites I claimed authorship using the rel="author" attribute, for some of them I did so through email verification. For others I verified authorship by adding ?rel=author to the Google+ URL.

Just to be clear, authorship information is set up correctly for all these sites. I tested the ones that were verified with author markup with the rich snippet testing tool.

Also, as mentioned before, the author name is still showing up in the search results and the articles are showing up in the author statistics in Google Webmasters Tools. Everything was still working perfectly a while ago, and I didn't change anything before this issue started.

I've searched for a fix, and did find others that have the same issue as of recent, although no solutions yet.

Troubleshooting steps I've taken:

  • Replaced profile picture with a more clear headshot on Google+
  • Replaced <a href="https://plus.google.com/9999999999/" rel="author">Google+</a> with vanity link: <a href="https://plus.google.com/+ExampleVanityLink" rel="author">Google+</a>

I have also read somewhere that disappearing author pics could be caused by a lack of activity on Google+. I've however seen profile pictures from other authors appear in SERPs that were way less active on the networking site than I am.

  • Did you see this question and the thread link in the update? Note the answers by Grace in that thread. And also the quote from here: Google doesn't guarantee to show author information in Google Web Search or Google News results.
    – dan
    Dec 31, 2013 at 21:00
  • @dan: Thanks.The hyperlinks to my Google+ profile aren't hidden. Also, in some cases where the profile picture doesn't show up, I verified authorship by email. In all instances a 'by author name' is clearly visible on the page. The thread you link to on Google forums provides a possible solution I haven't tested yet. In some cases the rel=author links are also included on my homepage. I'll change that, and update here when I learn more. Thanks again! Jan 1, 2014 at 20:25
  • @EdwardTouw Just meant to point out the Update, not the hidden code issue. Sounds good - if you figure out something definitive, then please add it as an answer and accept it when you can so the question can be considered closed. Thanks.
    – dan
    Jan 1, 2014 at 22:15
  • As announced by John Mueller on 8/28/2014, Google will stop showing authorship results in Google Search, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup. See this for more.
    – dan
    Aug 29, 2014 at 9:21

2 Answers 2


It is a common action taken by Google at the end of last year (December 2013). Others are reporting the same issue, so I think you just need to wait for Google changes.

  • 1
    If this is a link to your site or blog, please disclose that, and try to elaborate on your answers a little so they're not viewed as a link only answers.
    – dan
    Jan 4, 2014 at 1:26
  • 1
    Hi Yac, thank you for your input. From what I can gather from the information on the page you link to however, it's about authorship not showing up at all. In my situation however, authorship is showing, but without a profile picture in the SERPs. Jan 4, 2014 at 21:53
  • Other people in the the Google Product forums are reporting loss of picture too from around the same time as you: productforums.google.com/d/msg/webmasters/muvbBvRuy_Y/… It does seem to be somehow tied to Google tightening the requirements for authorship in general. Jan 22, 2014 at 11:56

As it appears, this is caused by the way Google is changing the way it shows author info. On his Google+ page, Google’s John Mueller says: “we're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.”


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