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Google Authorship Support Dropped

     
8:31 am on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google's John Mueller has announced that authorship in the SERPs is now ended. It seems as if it was one long experiment.

Unfortunately, we've also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results. Google Authorship Support Dropped [plus.google.com]
Going forward, we're strongly committed to continuing and expanding our support of structured markup (such as schema.org). This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and we'll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.

It’s also worth mentioning that Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.
1:24 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Excellent. I never could see the point in it.
1:29 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No biggie. Just because they've dropped photos, bylines, and relying on authorship markup to determine author identity doesn't mean they aren't interested in separating the wheat from the chaff.

With luck, they'll have learned something from this: namely, that anything that can be abused by SEOs will be, and most subject experts don't spend the bulk of their working hours thinking about how to optimize their work for Google.
1:35 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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perhaps authorship had more cons on the search results than pros on google plus..
1:43 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They shouldn't have opened it to everyone, imho. If it was going to work well it should have been only for journalists with credentials.

G+ will still show, and that's for everyone. The additional layer of authorship is removed.
3:04 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)



Nothing to do with taking the eye off paid Google adverts, of course.
3:34 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)



Nothing to do with taking the eye off paid Google adverts, of course.

That's the first thing that came to my mind as well. Anything that makes the ads less appealing, including organic search results, is not going to fly.
3:44 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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All those poor suckers who relied on this being a good signal must be feeling rather upset with this. Ironically it was a good idea.

Regards...jmcc
4:03 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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All those poor suckers who relied on this being a good signal must be feeling rather upset with this.

This was such an obvious magnet for spammers that everyone here should have known that it would be a big failure in the end. So if anyone is upset, they have no one to blame but themselves (Unless they prefer to blame Google for coming up with such a bad idea).

Ironically it was a good idea.

Maybe it's a good idea in principle, but not the way Google went about it.
4:27 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Nothing to do with taking the eye off paid Google adverts, of course.


Nothing at all, because authorship wasn't intended for commercial searches.

All those poor suckers who relied on this being a good signal must be feeling rather upset with this. Ironically it was a good idea.


A "good signal"? It wasn't ever a ranking signal, good or bad.
4:39 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This was such an obvious magnet for spammers that everyone here should have known that it would be a big failure in the end. So if anyone is upset, they have no one to blame but themselves (Unless they prefer to blame Google for coming up with such a bad idea).
True. But there would have been people who believed Google and all that SEO stuff. Of course there's a rather interesting takeaway from this for people in the SEO business (blackhat and whitehat) - Google can't beat spam.

Regards...jmcc
5:07 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Nothing at all, because authorship wasn't intended for commercial searches.


There are credible people who can show real examples where their paid ad CTR jumped, in a statistically significant way when the photos were deleted.
5:27 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There are credible people who can show real examples where their paid ad CTR jumped, in a statistically significant way when the photos were deleted.


Again, authorship wasn't intended for commercial searches. Google made it clear that sell pages, for example, weren't "authored content" by its definition and shouldn't be marked up as such. The fact that some people slapped authorship markup on everything from MLS listings to boilerplate hotel pages doesn't mean Google's intentions weren't clear all along.

Of course there's a rather interesting takeaway from this for people in the SEO business (blackhat and whitehat) - Google can't beat spam.


The real problem with authorship markup wasn't spam: It was lack of widespread adoption, which made it impossible for Google to take authorship to the next level (i.e., to use it as a reliable ranking factor).

Ditching authorship markup and author photos or bylines on SERPs doesn't mean Google has given up on concepts like author identity and authority. (Matt Cutts has spoken repeatedly about author authority as a future ranking factor--not just in the distant past, but also since the authorship team was absorbed into Google's main search team last year.) In other words, the mechanics may change, but the goal--separating #*$! from Shinola--remains the same.
5:43 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The only people using it were the people Google didn't want. (Or already knew about)
5:46 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The fact that some people slapped authorship markup on everything...


I guess it's easy to blame the publisher, but it's not always that black and white. Some searches aren't easy to identify as "commercial". For example..."oil painting" brings up a mix of commercial, as well as informational results. Google isn't yet magical enough to determine intent with broad keywords.

In any case, the point I was raising is that Google keeps saying that authorship (even with the pictures) did not affect searcher behavior, CTR, etc. Many credible people disagree, and some of them have statistics to back that up.
6:13 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Netmeg wrote:

The only people using it were the people Google didn't want. (Or already knew about)


Pithy and to the point, as always!
6:54 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Next up Google plus
9:14 pm on Aug 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google keeps saying that authorship (even with the pictures) did not affect searcher behavior, CTR, etc. Many credible people disagree, and some of them have statistics to back that up.


I think that's such an absurd position to take, the burden of proof would be on google for that. I don't find them to be credible.

If changing a word in my title affects searcher behavior, surely putting a picture next to it would.
2:39 am on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think that's such an absurd position to take, the burden of proof would be on google for that.


Somehow I don't think Google feels compelled to prove anything. :-)

If changing a word in my title affects searcher behavior, surely putting a picture next to it would.


I think that probably depends on a number of factors, including who's shown in the photo (black? white? male? female? old? young?), the look and quality of the photo (does it inspire confidence, or does it look like a snapshot of Uncle Bubba taken with a Brownie Hawkeye?), and the location of the photo (does anyone even notice a photo on page 7 of the SERPs?).
3:12 am on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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good that enough people don't care about that stuff google wants us to do - and that google is capable of abandoning it timely by themselves.

oh well, by now they know that following of such advice for your website is seo work that rather invites people who "care too much". nice information they get.
5:17 am on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It does make you wonder what will happen to other semantic markup? Perhaps authorship markup was particularly abused because it is shown in the SERPS (so I guess review stars will be next to go?), perhaps not.
5:37 am on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps it was never intended to "work" only appear to be an effort on G's part to give credit (knowing it would not work, etc.)

Who knows?

Who cares?

I never bought into it in the first place, thus saved all that time and code. :) (that's LOL, chuckles, sigh, and all that other stuff)
9:52 am on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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maybe it was just a test to see if they can correctly find and assign posts to one person. they might not need the markup anymore to do that.
12:54 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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maybe it was just a test to see if they can correctly find and assign posts to one person. they might not need the markup anymore to do that.


I think there's probably something in that. Danny wrote about it yesterday.

Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not

[searchengineland.com...]
1:47 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If it was a "test", I don't see how it could have accomplished much, since most real experts didn't participate.

Unless it was a test of their ability to identify spammers and wannabees.
2:05 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think removing Authorship was a stupid mistake by Google. They need a way to tie material together and identify who writes it and this was it. I can see them removing it from showing in the SERPs (distracting and spammer target) but I think it should have been kept to at least verify authorship of the pages (for ranking signals, to fight scrappers, etc..)

Sure not everyone is using it and it is another front that Google had to fight spam on but that is the case with everything Google introduces. Rich snippets is full of spam especially in my niche (reviews, ratings). Is Rich Snippets going to disappear next?

I was really hoping Google was going to tie in Authorship with fighting scrappers and identifying who posted the content first. I really hope they have something else up their sleeves to accomplish this. Whatever they do though they will be fighting the same battles they had with Authorship.
2:17 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They need a way to tie material together and identify who writes it and this was it.


"This was it" until they came up with something better. A.J. Kohn wrote about Google's newer "entity extraction" approach last October:

[blindfiveyearold.com...]
3:02 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I was really hoping Google was going to tie in Authorship with fighting scrappers and identifying who posted the content first. I really hope they have something else up their sleeves to accomplish this.

What Google should have done is to consult with Microsoft, Yahoo, and other major search engines, and come up with a universal author tag that all of them recognize. This is what was done to create the nofollow tag and the canonical tag. I doubt that it could be used as a ranking factor, but at least it might help with the problem of identifying the original source of an article or other content.
4:56 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Authorship will never work UNLESS there is a Registry where each Author must get an ID Number BEFORE they post anything to the web. If voluntary then okay, if mandatory... katie bar the door!
5:11 pm on Aug 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Authorship will never work UNLESS there is a Registry where each Author must get an ID Number BEFORE they post anything to the web. If voluntary then okay, if mandatory... katie bar the door!
Seems that mandatory aspect is what those characters in Google wanted. You can seen the authoritarian mindsets at work with the Google Plus, "organising" the world's information and other failed efforts.

Regards...jmcc
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