Why Google Has Decided To Pull the Plug on Authorship Altogether
Yesterday (August 28, 2014) Google’s John Mueller announced in his Google + posting that Google was removing all rel:author from it’s tracking data, and authorship content will no longer be displayed in search results. Authorship, as a concept, was to provide a mechanism to tie web content with an “author” providing 3 major benefits:
a. Enhanced Ability to Identify and Provide Power Behind Original, Relevant Content
b. Identify and add credibility to “Authors” who were providing quality content to the web, and
c. improve the trust and credibility of associated online properties
Google has pulled the plug on this program based upon 3 years of its own data testing. Google is absolutely committed to providing the best results possible for user queries, and is constantly testing and re-evaluating the impact of specific initiatives and data on search engine results. While the concept seemed sound, authorship proved to provide little impact on the “user experience”, while providing little return to Google when compared with the resources required for Google to track and process the information.
Low Adoption of Rel:Author and Tracking Issues
Another reason cited is the low overall adoption rate by site creators and content writers across the web. In addition, those who had adopted the rel:author initiative had not implemented it properly in most instances. A large study by Stone Temple Consulting was about to be completed that brought the issue into light: even those attempting to strictly adhere to the authorship initiative were failing at some element of the authorship process between their Google + profile, and the authorship coding on the associated web property.
Personally, I’m disappointed by this outcome. Most of my clients work diligently to provide original, relevant quality content for the online marketplace, and had adopted authorship to protect the integrity of their work and to seek additional trust and credibility for their strategies. The good news is that Google’s overall algorithmic shift is back to content. And my best recommendation to clients remains: Consistently offer original, relevant, client focused and insightful content, and good things do follow.