Google has announced that it has ended its three year experiment with Google authorship.
Google authorship rewarded authors by displaying their name and head shot next to their stories in the search engine results. Google authorship was created as it was thought that stories with authorship display might attract more hits.
Google first started showing authors names on its search results back in June 2011. However, over the last few months Google has started to remove more and more of the information that was originally associated with the Google authorship feature. Some may say that this has been on the cards for a while now though, as back in June the Google+ follower count numbers and profile pictures that used to accompany the search results were removed, and only bylines for qualified authorship results remained. Displaying the authorship information wasn’t as useful as Google had originally thought it would be, and wasn’t encouraging more clicks.
John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools has explained that the images were removed as part of Google’s move in integrating the Google user experience between desktop and mobile searches. Mobile devices have limited screen spaced and bandwidth and therefore there have been difficulties in displaying the authors photos. It had also been noted that the images didn’t have a great affect in the number of hits a page received. The fall of Google authorship comes after the lack of adoption from the experts at who it was marketed at, as many industries had very few verified authors.
This announcement, like the previous ones, is just another decision that Google has made based on looking at the things that work and those that don’t. Unfortunately Google authorship didn’t create the desired results.
Will This Affect Author Rank?
In short no. Google authorship and Author rank are two completely different concepts. Author rank refers to the ranking of a page depending on the authority of the writer or who wrote it – the demise of Google authorship will not affect how Google views and rewards authoritative writers.
How Will It Affect Google+?
The loss of Google Authorship doesn’t mean that your previous Google+ efforts have been a waste. Just because we’ve said goodbye to Google Authorship, it does not mean that’s the end for Google+.
Sharing your blogs and content on Google+ will still be a valuable SEO tool, because Google+ is going to continue to dominate a proportion of the Google search results page. Google has said it will continue to display relevant Google+ posts in the main search engine results as well as on the right hand side of the page.