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Google Authorship deemphasizing markup, moving to entity extraction?


Robert Charlton

6:59 am on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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AJ Kohn, a noted commentator on Google Authorship, published this Thursday a thoughtful update on the status of Google Authorship and what he conjectures to be an evolution to a different method of assigning Authorship. It's a solid enough piece, with enough research behind it, that I thought it was worth sharing...

Authorship Is Dead, Long Live Authorship
AJ Kohn - October 24th 2013

As AJ observes, while Authorship is a hot topic, Google Authorship markup has not been getting wide enough adoption to be used as a ranking factor. The principle engineers of the Google Authorship Project have moved on to other assignments, and Google is developing other means for identifying authors.

Authorship markup, he argues persuasively, has been replaced by entity extraction as a way of identifying authors, and Google+ is at the core of the new approach.

Authorship then becomes about Google's ability to extract entities from documents, matching those entities to a corpus that contains descriptors of that entity (i.e. social profiles, official page(s), subjects) and then measuring the activity around that entity....

...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.

It's an excellent read.


6:43 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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You're making my point for me. G+ didn't take off like Google had hoped. It knew if it made a G+ account a prerequisite for authorship to work that it could boost G+ adoption and use.

I never said, or implied that G+ made revenue. In fact, quite the opposite.

Google Search needs a way to separate the wheat from the chaff when ranking billions (trillions?) of Web pages, and using Google+ as an "attributability platform" will help to do that.

That approach failed. They've disbanded the team. They will need to revert to an approach that doesn't require G+.


7:47 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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You're making my point for me.

Actually, I'm not. Still, to each his own: Google+ is optional, and so is Google Authorship markup. For that matter, being included in Google's search results is optional. Free choice is a wonderful thing. :-)


8:00 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yes, of course, it's optional. Just as it was optional to launch a team around it, fail, and disband.


8:53 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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the company is also working with a variety of other sites, including Examiner, WikiHow and About.com to expand this program to other sites ...

Examiner, WikiHow and About.com Hmm... So these are the types of sites where top authors and leading authorities in G+ like to publish their articles? This is the best laugh I've had all day.


10:02 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Examiner, WikiHow and About.com Hmm...

For what it's worth, Google does say that having Authorship markup on a page doesn't guarantee that the page will get a rich snipppet in the SERPs.

I've noticed, for example, that some About.com "guidesite" pages get photos/bylines and some don't (even when the pages are by About.com guides who belong to Google+). I haven't been able to see a consistent pattern. But that's hardly surprising when you consider that Authorship is still in public beta.
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