Preventing unwanted Google Search Results

Something weird and peculiar happened to me this week which I thought I’d like to share with you so that you learn from my mistake.

A client alerted me to the fact that my name was showing up as an author on their site in Google search results and sent me the following screenshot.

Google-search-results

This website was built for a company that required no blog, thus no author template was provided. But ever so helpful Google decided to index the author archive anyway, meaning that clicking on the link, led to a page with no content.

When building websites for clients, I normally insert the content in all the pages and thus I’m listed as the author, which is where this information on the search results page comes from. This is fairly normal and I’m sure that I’m the author of millions of pages out there.

There are a few ways to deal with this.

  1. When launching the site, if you are adding your client as a user, simply switch all of the authorship on all content.
  2. If you won’t be adding your client as a user, you can go to your User profile and change your display name. A good idea would be to add the company’s name as a nickname and then use that as your display name.
  3. Finally and this is probably the most important tip, if you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, go to Titles & Meta > Archives setting and se the author archive to no index and Disable the author archives.  This will then redirect anyone who hits that link to your home page.

Ideally, you want to do this before you launch a site, before Google indexes your non-existing author archive, but I didn’t know it would do this until this week. Lesson learned.