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Continuing Demise of Authorship Stats - Could It Now Be a Spam Signal?
Sally Stitts

 5:53 pm on Jul 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here is an short, recent historical count of my authorship pages in GWT.
The more pages I add, the fewer pages are shown by GWT.

July 7 = 271 authorship pages
July 9 = 267
July 10= 264
July 11= 257
July 12= 253
July 13= 249 - Graph went to ZERO, been there ever since.
July 14= 247 - Completed adding authorship to all 325 pages
July 15= 244
July 16= 240
July 17= 237
July 18= 234
July 19= 227
July 20= 221

The more I comply with Google's wishes, the more I am ignored.
What is the point of constant hoop-jumping, when in fact, I am punished for doing it?

The new Google algo patent - "The more a webmaster implements authorship, the more we will ignore him/her."

Is authorship now being used as another spam signal?
They asked us to do it, we did, and now we are spammers?
OOP - Over-optimization Penalty? Sure looks like it.
The harder you try to comply, the more you are punished.

Is it time to remove authorship? Google +? Google analytics? All links? All keywords?



 6:05 pm on Jul 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Don't forget that authorship stats are under "Labs," which is another word for "Beta."

Sally Stitts

 6:46 pm on Jul 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good point.

I had 83,000 links in GWT a few days ago.
Now I have 70,000.

One guy who linked to me 23,000 times now is given credit for only 10,000 links. He came out of nowhere in mid-2013, to Alexa 15,000, and he just recently dropped into oblivion. If clicked now, an entirely different website is returned. A churner and burner, for sure. So happy to have been the recipient of his 23,000 links to me. NOT!

So yeah, beta. I have a different word for it. I don't know why I even bother. Morbid curiosity, I guess. Even if it is junk, I am curious to see the junk. But I need to just glance, take no action, and move on. Trying to make sense out of nonsense is a big waste of time.

Robert Charlton

 8:15 pm on Jul 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sally, Google is increasingly looking for a variety of confirming signals apart from your markup before assigning Authorship status. Check out the article I cite in this thread for more background....

Google Authorship deemphasizing markup, moving to entity extraction?
Oct 2013
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4619465.htm [webmasterworld.com]

...The presence of Authorship markup might increase the confidence level of the match but it will likely play a supporting and refining role instead of the defining role in the process.

With regard to your own situation, you might have sent the wrong signal here...

July 14= 247 - Completed adding authorship to all 325 pages

It's not clear that all pages on a site in fact should ever have Authorship status. Depends on the type of site, of course, but, even if you wrote everything on the site, it's likely that some pages weren't articles and authorship wasn't appropriate.


 3:36 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Continuing Demise of Authorship Stats - Could It Now Be a Spam Signa

In Google's original plan, authorship was meant to be a signal of expertise and authority. But it's such an obvious magnet for spammers that it never had a chance to work as Google intended. As to whether it has now become a spam signal, someone at Google may have looked at that possibility, but I doubt that internal company politics would allow it to be used in that way even if it would work.

Sally Stitts

 5:21 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I guess my biggest sin was compliance.
OCP - I am suffering from the Over-Compliance Penalty.

My main site is informational - I sell nothing.
In my mind, almost every page of mine is worthy of authorship.
Toward that goal, I seriously looked at every page. I dropped over 40 pages (10% of total), rather than place authorship on them. I did this to increase my overall quality perception.

Google continues to drive me down in the SERPs.
AdSense ads are TOTALLY unrelated to the subject on each page.
This did NOT happen for TEN YEARS. Now, it is daily.
When Google decides to marginalize you, they just serve you unrelated ads, with guaranteed lower CTR and EPC. Easy.

Since my AdSense money has gone to hail, I am now contemplating a switch. Media dot net has been bugging me to use their ads instead.
1. Since I have lost most on my AdSense income anyway, why not?
2. Since I am continuing to to lose Google SERP ranks, why not?

I feel a divorce is coming. How should I do it, and in what order? Start with the most egregious and problematic items? This will be a lot of work.
1. Google ads (replace with Media.net ads)
2. Google authorship (duh)
3. Google+ (every single bit of it)
4. Google Analytics (every single bit of it)
5. Google WMT (who cares, why give them the data?)

I made them over $1,000,000 in 10 years.
Now I am suddenly garbage? Dog meat?
I should have heeded the many warnings of others - "Never count on Google for anything." It was just a matter of time. The tide has turned.



 6:29 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I feel a divorce is coming.

The only way to do it is get it over with. There are those that have 2nd thoughts and remarry, so it doesn't mean an end to it all. Your just moving in a new direction.

Sally Stitts

 7:25 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

The tide has turned for me. For some, it happened years ago. For others, it will soon come, with some brilliant new algo "fix". We are all fodder for the Google cannon. Realization doesn't come to the individual, until THEY get shot. I guess I should be grateful that I survived so long.

Well, the new direction certainly won't be Media.net. I spent the last few hours looking them over. YIKES! All their employees seem to be non-native speaking Indians. And killing you as soon as payment is due. And no stats - clicks, CTR or EPC. They are in desperate need of reputation management.

So, it is back to Chitika, for now. They were always GREAT about payments. And, they now provide stats again, which is why I left them.

But this is not about going elsewhere. It is about leaving G.
Just too many requirements. And if you miss one, you are doomed.
I do not enjoy being thrashed about, and being required to perform various acts that I find repugnant. I am not of that persuasion.
The authorship fiasco has broken the camel's back.
Enough of the cr@p nuances that must be dealt with.

Now, I call the shots. I do what I choose, the Borg be damned.
Of course, I will become irrelevant. F@#$ it. I have plenty of money.
There is a certain genius to not caring.
Time to take my life back (and concentrate on my book on Google history.)
Life will be a lot more enjoyable.


 8:34 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just don't bite off your nose to spite your face.


 9:44 pm on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd definitely continue to work as if Google didn't exist. This seems to be how they want you to do it, anyway.

Plenty of other marketing areas to go after.


 2:14 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

A few thoughts about authorship as a "spam signal":

Sometimes, claims of authorship should be a spam signal. Let's say that the owner of a real-estate site sticks his byline on every MLS listing, or the owner of a "white label" hotel-affiliate site runs his byline on every page of boilerplate text from Hotels.com or Booking.com, or the owner of a music-lyrics site uses her byline on pages of lyrics that were written by someone else. Such uses are clearly spammy (not to mention deceptive), so it wouldn't be unreasonable for Google to pass out demerits to the offending sites when calculating its quality scores and rankings. (If I were Google, I'd throw such sites out with the trash.)

On the other hand, if a blogger puts his or her authorship code in a running footer, that isn't necessarily a sign of spammy intent: Having authorship code inserted automatically on a table of contents or a custom 404 error page might not fit Google's definition of "authorship," but it's a far cry from sticking a byline on something that was written by someone else. In such cases, Google probably would ignore sloppy uses of the authorship code, in the same way that it ignores sloppiness in HTML code.


 3:54 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Having authorship code inserted automatically on a table of contents or a custom 404 error page might not fit Google's definition of "authorship,"


I'm not absolutely clear what Google's definition of authorship is on the web, but I find myself nodding in agreement with Sally's assertion.

In my mind, almost every page of mine is worthy of authorship.

My websites were not put together by a committee. Nothing was outsourced. Nothing was bolted together using frameworks. Nothing was vomited up by a CMS.

I put together the information architecture and wrote the structural markup; I came up with the page-designs and styled the pages. I created my own graphics, I authored the copy on the pages, I authored the server-side nuts and bolts, I authored the client-side scripts. I am responsible for usability, accessibility, cross-platform compatibility, device agnosticism, standards compliance...

I am the author of every page on my all of my sites, regardless of whether the main feature of that page is an article or an overview of a section of the website containing thumbnail summaries of each subsection.

On the web, "being an author" shares common ground with - but is not identical to - being an author of an offline magazine feature or a newspaper column.

I'd want to suggest to Google that spending tens of hours on producing a set of pages from scratch - including attention to detail to every aspect - means that you are the author of those pages, regardless of whether each page includes a 1200 word article or not.


 4:13 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd definitely continue to work as if Google didn't exist.

And you will.

Being marginalized by Google is nothing new. It may or may not be a bad thing really, it just depends on who you talk to.
I do the WMT mostly for clients who want it .. When WMT first started I remember how fast everything was .. These days it appears that Google has trouble keeping up even with itself. WMT updates quite a bit slower now than it used to it seems.

Even still .. I've found that if Google knows where you are and what you do, you'll be fine. It might not be necessary to have added all of those bells and whistles that Google offers, like for instance ... a sitemap.xml will be found regardless of whether or not you submit it, and, any good webmaster that's in charge of his or her own hosting environment and files is going to know if something has been added without their permission.

You don't need Google to tell you things you already know.

.. as a matter of speaking, I too have been considering being rid of G+ and Youtube and Gmail for a while now. I'm not mad at Google really, I just get tired of the distraction that those things somehow seem to provide throughout the course of the day. I've never done the analytics and I don't do the Adwords at all either (big waste of time).

since 2004 I've resigned myself to writing for the visitor .. Long before Google ever mentioned that I should.

I made it through tons of Google Algo updates unscathed .. and even now I hover anywhere between 2nd and 4th page on any given day with just my own stuff. I'm local/regional and most of my clients or the community already knows who I am, where I am, so I haven't been, and won't be, too worried about never making any money.

Keep your chin up ... You'll be fine, regardless of, and even in spite of what Google does or doesn't do.


 4:21 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

since 2004 I've resigned myself to writing for the visitor .. Long before Google ever mentioned that I should.

And I've been doing it since before Google existed. The strategy has worked pretty well so far.


 4:35 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)


I freely admit that there was once a day when I was scooped up into all of the hype and B.S. - But I've long since chosen to look at things from a much more grounded perspective.

As a matter of speaking, I still do and/or deploy like I did even before 2004 -

In the end, it's always going to be about the people, and how they view and interact with you on the web .. we don't really need Google to tell us all how to do it.


 5:21 pm on Jul 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

In the end, it's always going to be about the people, and how they view and interact with you on the web .. we don't really need Google to tell us all how to do it.

Of course. But that doesn't mean you should look a gift horse in the mouth.

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