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Google Authorship and the Future – Is Google Authorship Completely Dead?

google authorship dead


I’ve been a specialist in SEO in London and beyond and in my time I have learned a few things and met a few people in the industry. So, I thought I’d ask them what they thought.

Google Authorship has had a bit of a tumultuous time in recent months and though Google fired the warning signs about its death a good few months ago, there’s plenty of speculation about whether its demise is permanent.

As a leading internet marketing company in London, always trying to improve, I asked some of my fellow marketers from throughout the world and we compiled a list of some of the big thinkers in the industry and gathered their thoughts on the subject.

So, is Google Authorship Completely Dead?

An SEO specialist in London (me) and those from beyond the big smoke have their say

A. jonnyp

As per the news we have seen on Searchengineland “Google has completely dropped all authorship functionality from the search results and webmaster tools.” its clearly mentioned that they will not show any authorship results, and for many people the process was a bit difficult using the rel=author in the bio and again linking that to their google plus profile. We all know this mainly happened after the guest posting hits..

Have to wait for their new algo again.. :)

A. Steve Counsell (Mr)

Google have been “flip-flopping” on the whole authorship thing in my opinion. The main thrust of Authorship when first mooted was to pull trusted conte to the top of the search results an dadd an image of the author to the left of th results. This seems to have been reserved for very prolific jounalists types and over the last few months has been removed from the results completely (here in the UK at least).

More recently and over the last week or so (August / September 214) I have noticed that my own posts on Google Plus have been reappearing in search results and have my preferred mug shot placed to the left of the search result.

I teach businesses DIY SEO and have been recommending that every business that attends my seminars and workshops make sure that they have a full and vibrant Google plus account that is links back to their content s that authorship can be verified.

Of course I cannot be sure that they’ve just softly reintroduced this or if my increase in authored content on every platform I can write for has increased exponentially but I do think it’s a good thing that Google are maybe keeping the Authorship preference around search results.

I’m unsure whether Google can ever get the authorship algorithm right so that they always provide top 5 results that include the best writing, the most relevant content and that fully answers the end users search query. Having said that it;s really up to each end every one of us to create content that does all of those things for our own website visitors.

The thing I am sure about is that f website owners and authors create content that is rich in content an relevance, is well written, uses images to illustrate a point, maybe includes video and audio tracks AND most importantly FULLY answers the end users question; then Google will simply have to place that content at the top of the search results.

Is Authorship Dead? Far From it, It’s alive and kicking and headed right for you.

A. ModestMoney

Yes Google Authorship is definitely dead. Just like Google+, it simply didn’t catch on. While it was a solid concept, in practice, too few authors bothered using it. For it to be really effective it needed much more widepread usage. Without that widespread adoption it just furthered skewed things towards SEO pros as they are the ones that would be more likely to try to take advantage of it. Inevitably there would be some marketers who would straight up abuse it. Instead of trying to lump together each author’s writing, Google is more likely to rely on automated ways to gauge content as well as signals such as social media activity.

A. profcopy (Helen Baker)

I am almost sure; it is all about eliminating backlinks as a core ranking factor. The future of authorship will depend on how intensively people will be using other Google products, Google Plus in particular. The more ‘plusing’ and ‘circling’ will be happening, the more personalized search results will be offered to us, consequently eliminating (or considerably reducing the number) ‘clean’ results from to 10. This should probably force digital marketers to focus on ‘building relationships’ via Google Products rather than building links to their websites.

A. Jonathan (Mr)

Google have wanted to pin Author to Content for a while and just because this attempt has been pulled doesn’t mean they will not continue. I think they have something else coming that’s better and more automated (if they have not already deployed it). My gut tells me that they have not had enough impact with it as a manual thing so they need to get automated.

There is the other side of this – did Google do it just to collect a sample pot of data about what certain types of people write about and why? Was this just a huge survey really?

A. Cormac Reynolds (SEO consultant London)

I think it’s dead and gone beyond. Google may try something else but the chances are this is another failed experiment that will go down with Google + as a whole possibly. Who’s to know

A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM )

I am not a fan of authorship across the board, for the simple reason that most information on the Internet is not person-specific.  Good, solid information is usually institutional.

Yes, authorship makes sense for bloggers, consultants, speakers and others who publish their opinions and observations as individuals.  But there is massive news media, eCommerce, government, NGO and service company content that is not attributable and should not be attributable to individual authors.

One of the reasons that authorship died, so we are told, is that there was not a substantial difference in click-throughs for entries with author pics as for regular entries.  I suspect that is because the average person didn’t understand why there were faces next to some of the content.  Some might have thought it meant that this was the face of someone with authority (sometimes rightly so), and been more prone to click on it.  Others might have thought that this was just somebody’s opinion, and not real information (sometimes rightly so), and been less inclined to click on it.

Without fairly sophisticated surveying, it would be hard to tell just what the average non-webmaster was thinking.

For my part, the author pic tells me that it is just someone’s opinion, and unless I know that person and value his/her reputation, it would not greatly change my likelihood to click through, and might even deter me from doing so in favor of a more official page.

Unless Google creates a new “Opinion” search (like the News, Videos and other searches), I suspect that authorship is dead.  But I don’t have a crystal ball, and who knows what clever scheme Google might yet envisage to revive authorship in a more useful manner.

A. Philtrate ( The Teaching Escape Guy)

Google needs every possible signal that might be related to quality. Authorship certainly is, it’s just that in its recent iteration it wasn’t working. At some point in the next 2 or 3 years authorship will be back in a different form.

Perhaps tying it into G+ was the issue, perhaps Google will start an authorship app that is much easier and more intuitive to use than the G+ authorship one was. It needs to be much easier for bloggers and authors both to use if it is to gain any traction. Whether Google will display the authorship in its search results is a different question; I don’t believe author’s photos will be shown in SERPS.

If you’re interested in local SEO or implementing Google Authorship for your business - why not ask an SEO specialist in London and contact us for details. 

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