What Happens Next With the end of Google Authorship?
As of 29th August, the three-year experiment called Google Authorship has come to an end. If you weren’t aware of Google Authorship, it was a program that allowed authors of web content to identify themselves with a digital signature. Many webmasters found this beneficial because they could link all their content through their Google+ account. The other incentive many people found was when anyone would use Google, an author’s profile image and byline came up in the search engine results page (SERP), which some claimed encouraged more clicks.
Why did Google decided to end the program?
John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst said, “This information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results.” Google wasn’t seeing enough value in general authorship in the SERP to continue doing it. The original idea of Google Authorship was t0 give writer’s creditability in a particular niche.
Unfortunately, there weren’t very many people either using the program as they hoped there would be or people didn’t set it up correctly, which is why Google pulled the plug. Despite that many webmasters claimed seeing an author’s profile image on SERP influenced users to click, according to Google statistics it never increased click behaviour as thought to believe.
Another deciding factor on ending the program was mobile users. The author’s photos didn’t work well on mobile results because they took up too much room, and Google wanted to stay consistent on mobile and desktop platforms.
What happens next for webmasters?
Author’s profile images aren’t entirely going away, but you must be logged into Google+. Google+ users will now see a personalised SERP, and may be shown content that’s relevant to them. For instance, if you have people in your Circles who have published content that’s relevant to your search, their content and author image will be elevated in the SERP.
You will also see a Knowledge Graph Panel, which shows on the right hand side of the SERP. In this panel users see relevant information about this person or business that are in their Circles.
Should I do anything differently?
If you’re someone who has implemented the authorship tag, and are wondering whether you need to remove this, don’t delete these markup tags. After all, these are still active links and Google may use them to detect original authorship in the future. You should also definitely continue posting your web content to Google+ because it’s still the best way to get your content crawled and indexed quickly.
Although many believed that a profile snippet encouraged users to click on their link versus another, Google has suggested otherwise. If you’re a webmaster, continue writing high quality content and posting it to Google+. Google Authorship may have ended, but there just might be something better in the works.