Google Plus Profiles: Muddying the Waters

As the administrator of Trusted Dealers’ Google+ page, I’ve been trained like one of Pavlov’s famous dogs to update it fairly regularly for branding reasons, despite my inherent dislike of G+ as a medium for, well, anything.

Despite my craven acceptance of the necessity of keeping it up to date, I’ve also noticed that Google are now making a correlation between my G+ profile and my ownership of the G+ page and the website itself. Here’s what I see when I search for ‘site:trusteddealers.co.uk’ right now – without being logged in or anything else.

td-plus

It’s interesting in a minor way, as there are no rel author tags in the blog or other connections between it and my Google account – but buried away in my G+ profile is this, which I don’t even remember setting up:

contributor

Despite that, Google maintain that they won’t give you credit for a link between content and profile without you going round the houses and tagging up web properties.

must

This is something that patently I have never done. Instead, Google is inferring a connection between my profile and content because of other signals, such as my use of Webmaster Tools or the aforementioned ownership of the G+ page. In fact, the Google account I use for maintaining Trusted Dealers’ web properties is basically an empty shell and not even my ‘real’ Google profile anyway – just another login to maintain that allows me to keep my personal and ‘professional’ stuff in separate spheres.

I haven’t explored this is in any way, but if they’re being loose with it then it opens up scope for interesting things which you might fairly consider to be errors – like this example below, which credits David Whitehouse with authorship of Dave Naylor’s blog:

naylor

I know that Whitehouse works at Bronco with Dave and has probably been involved with setting up Webmaster Tools or G+ on his behalf, but it smacks a little of sloppiness for Google to then attribute Dave’s entire blog to Whitehouse!

As I said, I’ve not had chance to experiment further, but next up: can you claim credit for someone else’s work?

About Carps

Search marketer by day, unconscionable slob by night.

4 responses to “Google Plus Profiles: Muddying the Waters”

  1. Se▲n says :

    Interesting. I’m going to add myself as a contributor on a few sites (NYT, Guardian) as well as some sites that don’t have authorship markup :)

    • Carps says :

      And I’m going to make myself the author of a tonne of erotic fiction blogs to make my life seem more interesting than it actually is :)

  2. David Whitehouse (@davewhitehouse) says :

    LOL good job Google…

    Anthony set this up and got us all to add our contribution things to Google+, funny that it’s picked me – maybe Dave Naylor didn’t do his so it thinks I’m the most relevant?

    • Carps says :

      I bet takeup on authorship tagging is *really* low so they’re playing around for proxies like GWT ownership and so on. It’s been like this for a couple of weeks now so it’s not just a ‘one day only’ kind of result. Maybe they see it as a good enough thing in most cases – although obviously it could create loads of trouble down the line as people move jobs.

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