Categories: Structured data & rich snippets :

Google authorship for forum thread authors

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Google authorship for forum thread authors Mark R Walker 7/15/13 1:45 PM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 
I implemented Google authorship for my forum successfully several months ago, but recently found out it stopped working. I've setup a test post to verify here:
http://www.abestweb.com/forums/introduce-yourself-16/testing-rel%3Dauthor-please-disregard-167535.html
You can see using the Structured Data Testing Tool that it cannot find Authorship information for the page, even though the link to my profile on the thread page has rel="author" attached. My profile page for the site has a link to my Google+ profile with rel="author" as well, and my Google+ profile has my site URL in the Contributor To section. What am I doing wrong?

I found another site with vBulletin forums that is doing this for thread authors, so I know it's possible.
http://www.moneymakingexperts.org/f12/claim-google-authorship-your-forum-threads-497/

Any help is appreciated.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Brian Ussery 7/15/13 2:11 PM
Hi Mark,

Sorry but the test URL provided returns a 404?

-Brian
Mark R Walker 7/15/13 2:54 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Mark R Walker 7/16/13 6:32 AM
Brian, the test URL has been fixed.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 7/19/13 1:49 PM
Mark - I'm having almost the same problem you are with only one of my vbulletin forums. My other one works without a problem. 



Are you getting the link-type-author showing up?  Looks like your example thread was removed. I see that you tried using your name though - I tried the same without any success. I also tried a stock vbulletin layout, rel="author" in the a link vs ?rel=author at the end of the URL, etc. 

It's driving me insane! 
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Mark R Walker 7/29/13 10:09 AM
John,

I am getting the link-type-author to show up, but the testing tool isn't see it as the Author. I noticed on nikonites.com that you have rel="publisher" working as well. Is that required for rel="author" to work?

Mark
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 7/29/13 10:19 AM
No, the publisher tag shouldn't have anything to do with the author tag, although I have the same markup on the site that didn't work and it wasn't showing the publisher tag in the testing tool either. I'm perplexed.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Shakensoul 8/3/13 11:29 PM
I am also not able to show Google Authorship rich snippet on my forums which is a phpBB forum

The Google Authorship is working for my main site, e.g.


But it does not show on my forum topics


Any inputs would be appreciated. Thanks.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Mark R Walker 8/5/13 7:17 AM
Believe it or not, we've figured this out.

@Shakensoul, your main page works, but your forum pages do not. The reason is the 'forum' keyword in the URL for the forum pages.

@John, this explains your two sites as well. Your nikonites.com site works because it does not have the 'forum' keyword; the cellphoneforums.net site does.

We tested this on several of our sites, and it seems that as soon as Google sees the 'forum' keyword in the URL, it shuts off authorship. Completely ridiculous.

Anyone at Google care to confirm/explain?
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 8/5/13 7:31 AM
Mark, thanks for responding. That would make sense since Google seems to have been putting "X posts - ‎X authors" in for a while now. However, it does seem like a change in behavior since I was getting the authorship markup for about a year. 

Also, it may not have to do with 'forum' in the url, but simply if Google identifies the site as a forum. Even though the markup on Nikonites is showing up in the tool, I recently stopped getting the markup displayed for that site as well. 
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Shakensoul 8/5/13 8:33 AM
Yes, as John said, it may not have anything to do with the word 'forum'.

I found something interesting, if you look at this url


where I have removed the trailing slash from 'forum', it displays the rich snippets on the tool :)

Thoughts ??
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 8/5/13 8:52 AM
Shaken, that's very interesting. I'm betting that the testing tool does a simple check for the word 'forum or forums' within a URL, but the actual search listing is a little more detailed in filtering out what is a forum and what is not. This explains why my nikon site is showing markup in the tool while cellphoneforums is not, but they are both not showing my Google+ profile pic in results. 
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 8/11/13 5:19 PM
Update: I can confirm that 'forum' in the URL is what is triggering the markup testing tool to say that authorship data is not there. I tested by enabling a parked domain that doesn't have 'forum' in the url:
vs

Both are the exact same site.


Strangely my other site is starting to get authorship in results again. I can confirm in GWT.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Shakensoul 8/14/13 7:37 AM
Any of the experts lurking out here, can anyone confirm if google rich snippets will work for 'forum'?

 :)
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 8/19/13 10:25 AM
Also, I just added authorship to a new site that also has forum in the URL and I'm getting the same results. 
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors wooldog 9/14/13 1:50 AM
Anymore news on this? I would like authorship on my forum
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Grace Massa Langlois 9/14/13 4:26 AM
Good Morning,

I believe Google addressed "forums" in this Google Webmaster post (not directly but I believe it answers the question) - http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2013/08/relauthor-frequently-asked-advanced.html.

Grace
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors wooldog 9/14/13 4:58 AM
Thanks,

But I just made a redirect from /forums to /community and it works.


Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors Grace Massa Langlois 9/14/13 12:28 PM
Good Afternoon,

It may test properly in the SDTT but if Google's intent is to attribute authorship in the manner they've described in the post, the snippet may not return in search.

Grace
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors wooldog 9/14/13 2:14 PM
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors wooldog 9/14/13 2:18 PM
So I have 2 options, destroy SEO to change from /forums to /community or something similar. Or do without this Authorship. 
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors John deg 9/14/13 2:28 PM
So by the definition under 'what kind of pages can be used with authorship', my pages fit, despite being forums. Often times I will have content that is not 'forum like'. For example: http://cellphoneforums.net/htc/t363960-htc-one-vs-htc-one-mini.html#axzz2emOfA96p

Only the thread starters are marked as the author.
Re: Google authorship for forum thread authors wooldog 9/14/13 6:13 PM
totally agree John.

Google has handled this poorly. Just because a url has the word forum or forums doesn't make it a forum. Also to stop people from using authorship in forums, it's pretty poor barrier, since all you need is another word for forum or even in root to bypass this. Also what if it is another forum? Like a forum for ants? Doesn't have to be an internet message board. I imagine this would annoy some webmasters when they do not have a message board but have the word forum in the url.

Furthermore, this should be stated explicitly when you try and set this up. Not give an incorrect error message.


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