RIP Google Authorship, It Was Great Knowing You
On Thursday, Aug 28 2014, Google’s John Mueller announced on his Google+ page the “Official End of Google Authorship“.
It reads in part:
I’ve been involved since we first started testing authorship markup and displaying it in search results. We’ve gotten lots of useful feedback from all kinds of webmasters and users, and we’ve tweaked, updated, and honed recognition and displaying of authorship information. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.
It was a very saddening announcement. For me at least.
Since then, quite a few articles are citing the “difficulty to implement authorship” as one of the major reasons it “never took off” (see Search Engine Land’s “It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results“).
In the article, they are referring to a November 2012 study of a Forbes list of 50 Most Influential Social Media Marketers which found that only 30% used authorship markup on their own blogs, but of those without any markup, 34% were still getting an Authorship rich snippet in search.
In addition, the article says “A whopping 70% of authors made no attempt to connect their authorship with the content they were publishing on major web sites.”
I never thought the implementation was hard (seriously, 3 simple steps are hard?).
I liked the idea of all my published posts, across all linked websites, being accessible via the byline. OK, and maybe I liked to have my picture there as well – at least a little bit.
But more than that, I liked it as a feature for our clients (and other authors and publishers as well!) – as Authorship (and the way the results were being displayed) was adding the “personal” level to the otherwise so nameless desert of Search Engine Result pages. It gave the result a face, tied a real person to it.
What does it mean for our (and your) rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” tags? Nothing. Google will ignore them (like all other search engines), and life will go on.
What does it mean for other Google services? For example, the always-troubled Google+?
I don’t know; We’ll just have to wait and see what surprises Google has in store for us in the future.