It’s a Sad Day for Google Authorship Fans
Click to enlarge what remains of Google Authorship.
For now, the only author "markup" is the byline. Google got rid of "Authorship," which used to show searchers if a recognized writer penned a piece about the subject for which they sought information.
The search engine optimization feature was great for content marketers who wanted to establish authority as thought leaders on certain subjects. Or was it? Search Engine Land's article, "It's Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results," explains a couple reasons Google tossed out the tool.
On Aug. 28, Eric Enge writes about how Google got rid of "Authorship" in search results and Webmaster Tools:
1. Searchers Didn't Care. Google saw little difference between click behavior on "search result pages with Authorship snippets compared to those without" back in June, when the search giant erased author photos from search results, according to Enge. A Google representative said something similar regarding Authorship's "value" when ridding SERPs of the snippets altogether, Enge writes.
2. Most Publishers Didn't Use It. This may be a chicken-or-the-egg situation, but publishers weren't enabling Authorship, as well. Enge says in some cases, Google tried to add Authorship—but had a few flawed results, like "Truman Capote being shown as the author of a New York Times article 28 years after his death."
In the meantime, Google users may be able to find authorship information for people in their Google+ circles or Gmail contacts, Enge writes. (I found this to be true, as well. See Lee Odden's picture as the second item in the media viewer, at right. I used my account to experiment. Odden is one of my contacts.)
How important was Google Authorship for content marketers? According to an October 2013 blog post on Koozai, "Google Authorship can help increase CTRs by 30 percent to 150 percent and 17 percent of Google queries include at least one instance of author verification in the first 100 search results." Did, as Enge hypothesizes, the novelty wear off?