Google Authorship – Lethal For Low Quality Guest Bloggers

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Why is everyone praising Google Authorship so much? Sure, there are a few good aspects to the program. The author pictures look really good in SERPs. And successful implementation of authorship increases CTR massively and builds your reputation as an author in the eyes of Google and people. But, it also leaves a fairly easy to notice footprint for those who use Authorship while guest blogging with the aim of building links to their own sites. This is like telling Google, “Hey! The person who wrote that genuinely good post last week on my own blog? I’m also the author of this crappy guest post.” Ask me, how do you know? Because it’s easily predictable.

What is Authorship

Authorship is establishing you, to Google, as the author of a piece of content that gets published on a website. In simple terms, it’s like establishing yourself as the confirmed author of your blog by using your Google+ profile. And they take your Google+ profile picture and use it as the author picture in SERPs. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

Verified Authorship

In Google Webmaster Tools, under Labs, there’s a clickable option called Author Stats. When you click on that, if you can see a new page containing various data about pages for which you are the verified author.


If you currently don’t have Authorship set up in your site, I’ve explained the whole process in three short steps below:

  • Link to your Google+ profile from the post page directly (using or indirectly (using a meta tag, for example: <link rel=”author” href=”″/> ).
  • OR, provide Google with an email id like (generally anything @yourwebsite.tld, as long as you can verify it).
  • Then you add link to the root domain (on which your post is hosted) in the contributor to section of the About area of your Google+ profile. And you’re done.

You can check if Authorship is successfully implemented or not by pasting URLs in Google’s Rich Snippets tool.

How it looks like on SERPs

Successful implementation of Google Authorship ensures that author information shows up on SERPs for content created by you. When your name and picture shows up on SERPs, they look like this:


That looks so cool, why should I care about anything else?

Well, first of all I’m assuming that you don’t post crappy content,  at least on your own site. So, you can easily implement authorship on your site. You can also utilize authorship on your guest posts, provided they’re high quality.

But, if you’re guest blogging just to build a good (to you) backlink profile by posting low-quality guest posts on high PageRank sites, don’t implement authorship on those posts. Though I’d recommend you to stop spammy guest posting in the first place, you can still have a higher chance of getting away with your activity if you don’t link that kind of posts to your Google+ profile. You should know that,

Google Authorship may be lethal to low-quality guest posters


The above screenshot is a real example of an extremely  low-quality guest post.

If you produce similar work, now might be the right time to get serious. Google Authorship can be deadly to you as an author and to your site.

To start with, I’d point you to Google’s quality guidelines about link schemes. Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links can “negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results”. So, you’re already violating Google’s quality guidelines to begin with. On top of that, you’re letting them know, “Hey there! I’m violating your guidelines, right here, with THIS post!”.

With authorship, it’s easier than ever for Google to penalize everything you have ever published.


You should be aware that Google prefers quality content and is already able to give them more priority in SERPs than low quality content.  Now, authorship is a source of a brand new type of information for Google – Author Consistency.


I created the chart so you can see how it works. Ideally, your author consistency points will increase as you post valuable content that gets recognition (links, social shares, mentions etc.) from legitimate people. The points will decrease as you post low quality ‘Top 10 Best Things’ articles on little-known sites with rich anchor texts pointing at your own site, or posts that no one cares about.


Sooner or later, horrible authors will vanish off the SERPs along with all their low-quality contents thanks to Google Authorship. And if that isn’t enough, the sites they own will also get heavily penalized, thanks to the list of verified sites in Google Webmaster Tools.

Unless you are a ‘churn and burn’ supporter, don’t waste your time doing things can directly put you under the wrath of Google. Instead, use your time and money effectively by implementing future proof SEO strategies that won’t put you under Big G’s magnifying glass.

If you do have to post short, low-quality posts on sites that don’t care about the quality of their posts, make sure you don’t use Google Authorship there.

What do you think about Google Authorship?

Rohit Palit
Rohit Palit is a 17 years old Inbound Marketing Consultant, and a technical SEO fanatic based out of Kolkata, India. He manages his SEO &... Read Full Bio
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  • Patrick Coombe

    great post Rohit. Mr Cutts mentioned something at the last Pubcon about cleaning a lot of this up and specifically mentioned authorship so I think you are spot on with a lot of this.

    • Rohit Palit

      Yep! Thanks for reading, Patrick.

  • James Brockbank

    Authorship markup is a fantastic tool for those genuine bloggers…its a way to receive benefit for posting high quality, unique content. If people are using authorship markup when carrying out spammy, black-hat guest blogging…fool them! Google are fully aware people will do this, thinking they’ll get the benefit…when really all they’re doign is leaving a massive footprint!

    • Rohit Palit

      Yeah, the ‘footprint’ bit is actually very important, but most people tend to not notice / ignore. Thanks for reading, James. 🙂

  • Andrew Isidoro

    Authorship has the potential to go beyond simple ranking of documents and towards providing a source of providence for search engines to work from. Offers them a simple and scalable way of determining the quality and original source of data.

    • Rohit Palit

      Definitely! I’m interested in topical authority as well, although it’ll be a bit hard to exactly specify a ‘topic’, But, a high-authority ‘cat’ blogger atleast shouldn’t get the same benefit while posting posts about ‘SEO’, for example.

  • Glenn Bachman

    I think you’re right. This reminds me of something Bill Sebald wrote about a couple months back

    • Rohit Palit

      Thanks for linking to Bill’s post. It’s an interesting read.

  • Stellan Herr

    In my eyes this article here is a perfect example of a low quality guest post with a keyword rich anchor text link. Kind of grotesque.

    • Rohit Palit

      Not sure how great your own standard of writing is.

      • Stellan Herr

        I just found out that you are only 15 years old and quite new to SEO – that of course makes a difference. Sorry for the harsh words, don’t want to discourage you at all – keep going Rohit!

  • Rohit Palit

    I’m not “quite new to SEO” and I’m 16 and I don’t believe that makes a difference. Sorry for being rude, but I couldn’t see that you’re a baller, either. This post has been shared and talked about by numerous industry experts who’ve already proven their worth. I don’t need to prove anything to you. By all means, post something better and either show it off or stay happy with yourself for posting it.

  • Ryan Axford

    This all sounds like a good thing. No one wants to read crap like your screenshot, and Google is taking the initiative to shut those authors down. I see it might be bad for international companies who maybe don’t have the resources to have good bi-lingual writers, but otherwise, let the strong survive.

    Google is working to enhance the user’s experience by providing relevant, and excellent content. The only way we’re going to weed out the crap content filling our feeds is by shutting it down from every angle.

    Good article. My big takeaway, though a little blogging 101, is to hire writers who have a following, write great content, and have established themselves as leaders in the field.

    Do you know if NEW bloggers are affected by this? If I’ve never written a post, but what I write is high quality, how am I (or the blog) impacted?

    • Rohit Palit

      “Do you know if NEW bloggers are affected by this?”

      They shouldn’t, at all. New bloggers are basically starting from zero.

  • Jane Phelps

    We were just talking about Authorship on our SEO Braintrust chat room, so your article was very well timed. I completely understand the value of Authorship, but had never considered the “devalue” of poor authorship.

    • Rohit Palit

      Now might be a good time for people pushing hundreds of mediocre guest posts to realize just that. 🙂

  • Deepanker

    Nice article. It will surely open eyes of all guest posters who try to produce links by guest posting. No one can fool Google. 😀

    • Rohit Palit

      Thanks, but can’t agree with “No one can fool Google.”. 😉

  • sajith

    Google prohibit linking your own content, and by adding google authorship in your guest post, you are inviting trouble, Later they can come up a tool that will easily find out if any body is linking his own content by using authorship. And as you said google never say that you can link back to your own content if the quality of content is good.
    I will not agree with you in that matter. If you are having authorship, resource link and search optimised backlink, then you may be in real trouble. Like a thief leaving his identity card at the spot.
    Even I can not recommend a guest post with a search optimised keyword as it is illegal to recomend that to users.
    I already mentioned this in my post

    • Ryan Axford

      While his comment is in somewhat broken english and tough to understand, I’m not sure why you feel that being insulting is the best response. You’re 16, you have a lot to learn. Take the comments in stride. Even if you know what you’re talking about, no one is going to be interested in having you write for them if you’re cocky and insulting to your readers.

      I think it’s great you’re so involved at an early age – this is the future of business, and you’re on the right track. But stop being facetious and just say thanks for the comment.

      You’re not the only SEO guy out there, and you’re easily replaced. Have some respect.

      • sajith

        Thanks for your comment. However he is a little boy and we must appreciate his ability. And if his claim is true (he is studying in Bengali medium school), then he must be really smart to write an article like this. I know how hard to learn English in India, if you are studying in local medium.

        As you highlighted he has a lot to learn. He provided search optimized back link to his website and he clearly mentioned in who is he at the resource box. (SEO strategies with 35 000 actual searches per year)

        That is strictly against Google’s webmaster guide line (posts that contain links means good posts, bad posts, spam posts and all). Some SEO people from India is like this. I still get inquiry from Indian SEO people, with their rotten SEO packages. (one guest post submit to 100 websites, Directory submission and all those craps).
        If you hire them you have to hire another SEO firm from USA to clean the mess they made for you. And once you fall in Sh*t, cleaning is very hard

  • Rohit Palit


    1. So much more than just broken English. “it is illegal to recomend that to users.”. Trust me, he’s a comment spammer who spammed with his internal link hoping someone would visit it and he’d make revenue from the ridiculous ads he has on that page.

    2. Sorry, that was probably a bit harsh. I mean, that WOULD look harsh to a normal reader, but I don’t know a better way to respond to moronic comment spammers.

    “You’re not the only SEO guy out there, and you’re easily replaced.”
    That was so relevant.

    • Ryan Axford

      Then just delete it. The technology world is small, I’m glad you’re pushing back, but there are better ways to do it. Just trying to help you out because you’re obviously smart, no need to be making enemies.

      • Rohit Palit

        I don’t seem to have the permission to ‘delete’ comments. And your time and help, both are appreciated!

  • Warren Whitlock

    Here’s one more way that Awesome content by awesome people will work better than junk.

  • sajith

    So much more than just broken English??

    My English may be bad, as I did not get a chance to study in English medium school like you. I am not ashamed of it and I am proud about it, because even after studying in a Indian public school without having lunch, I have beaten the english medium educated guys like you, in lot of competitive exams. Now I have migrated to Australia. Here I have seen lot of English medium educated guys from India is working in hotels to get Australian permanent residence. ( I got my PR when I was in India, and landed in Australia as a PR)
    Comment spamming??
    My blogs have around 2 million page views per month and this comment will not change much. I have responded to you since your article is exactly true. I have put the link since your article and my article covers the same subject (My article is published long back).

    If you have a good english that is great and say thanks to God, since your dad had more money to send you to English Medium school. My dad was a tile factory worker who could not do that.


    • Rohit Palit

      It’s not just the English. It’s your common sense and intellect that reflected through your last comment.

      Anyway, I never was and am still not in an “English Medium School”. In fact, I study in a Govt. school in which I got myself admitted twice (once in the primary section, once in secondary) thanks to my own merit. The fees involved are around $10 per YEAR. Glad you asked.

      “My blogs have around 2 million page views per month” – the owner of such blogs should have better things to do than posting crappy comments in a leading community-driven site about search engines.

      “and say thanks to God” – I’m an atheist.

      “since your dad had more money to send you to English Medium school…” – he didn’t really do it.

      “My dad was a tile factory worker who could not do that.” – I wonder how that’s important and even related to your last comment which was stupid, in my humble opinion.

      Hope you come back next time with a bit more common sense so you don’t comment publicly that some things are “illegal”

      • Rohit Palit

        Yeah, here it is, quote from your last comment. I still can’t stop laughing.

        “Even I can not recommend a guest post with a search optimised keyword as it is illegal to recomend that to users.”

  • Rohit Palit

    Meanwhile, sorry if I offended anyone here. I didn’t really mean to. I guess I lost my temper seeing those “suggesting is illegal” stuff. Sorry again, this was my first time responding to comments on SEJ, so I wasn’t much familiar with responding to comments from an OP’s perspective.

    Lastly, thanks for all the support people! Glad to see this post getting so many social shares and reactions. It’s also ranking #3 on Google US for ‘Google Authorship’, right after Google’s two own results. Hopefully, this increased exposure can help make more guest posters aware of the potential danger of attaching your Google+ profile with low quality guest posts.


  • Rohit Palit

    Hey mate,

    Maybe you shouldn’t generalise things like this? That was insulting. You should make proper research before posting something insulting as such.

    “As you highlighted he has a lot to earn.” – let’s not resort to personal attacks here.

    “However he is a little boy” – English might not be one of your stringest points, but this is REALLY insulting.

    “And if his claim is true (he is studying in Bengali medium school)” – I’m not trying to hide anything in the first place. Please check my Facebook profile if you have any doubts. I’ve even got the marksheet of the last exam uploaded there (uploaded by my tutor, who was congratulating me).

    ” then he must be really smart to write an article like this.” – Sorry, but I believe SEJ didn’t choose to publish this post because I was a ‘little boy’, but because this is genuinely good anyway.

    Lastly. that keyphrase hasn’t got that many monthly searches. It’s just my linking pattern, as you can figure out from other links to other sites as well. I believe there’s more to guest posting than just getting one or two links.

    I’m not gonna say anything about the claims you’ve made about Indian SEOs. I wonder how comments like this are getting through the moderation queue.

    Enjoy your time in Australia,

    • sajith

      Uploaded by my tutor,??
      You were claiming you are studying in Gov. School without any tuition.
      Anyway that is not important. You are really smart and intelligent, to achieve this much knowledge at this age.
      I never consider monthly searches. I always count it in yearly. Monthly it is 2900 actual searches for “SEO strategies”.
      Then do not get upset on forums and comments. Something may be useless and something may be useful. Take useful one and leave other one. As other person said, you are not the only SEO guy and you are not the ultimate Guru of SEO.
      Discussions will improve our knowledge, and if you start getting upset on others who does not agree your views, then nobody will be interested to discuss anything with you.
      Your article is good and I think as a writer you need not worry about backlinks from comments as SEJ people are really expert in Search Engine Optimization.
      Then try to avoid linking to your own domain, or add nofollw. (This is just an advice; it is up to you to take it or leave it). With your writing style and quality your article, you will get tons of backlinks in organic way. Your guest posts will bring tons of visitors to you and there is no need of page ranks passing.
      All the best

  • Jessca Lovejoy

    Excellent article! You made some fabulous points, but I especially regarding the importance of high-quality content. Readers care about consuming content that matters to them. Therefore search engines like Google have evolved to deliver trusted content while pushing everything else into the digital ocean. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Pau

    I am seriously considering adding authorship to all my posts. I always strive to publish content that is high quality and valuable to readers, but your last point scares me a little.

    I am quite new to writing online and how SEO works, but it was my understanding that with Google updates, sometimes good sites get penalized that shouldn’t. Is it possible, running several websites, that if one of them gets wrongly penalized, and it has my authorship, Google will wrongly think I only write low quality and penalize ALL of my sites?

    Thanks for clarifying some questions I had about authorship and for your help 🙂