If you have been depending on authorship to help make a name for yourself and assist with your search engine optimisation efforts it is has all been for naught. In August Google announced they would no longer be using authorship results for Google searches.
It seemed that many writers be they bloggers or thought leaders looked towards authorship as the perfect way to raise their profiles. It was a way to get not only your thoughts, opinions and ideas out there as an industry guru but even allowed people to put a face to your name. However it seemed by December 2013 faces were less prevalent on results, many showing up with only a by line. By June photos were non-existent. The reason given by Google at that time was “limited screen space”.
Authorship was designed to allow writers to build trust and in turn raise their rankings with search engine optimisation efforts. It was also an excellent opportunity for industry experts to toot their own horns and increase their readability by becoming a familiar face and name to trust when looking for the latest trends in their industry. Using the rel=”author” and rel=”me” tags was encouraged in order to connect a writer’s content to their name and profiles. It would help build credibility of the writer and content as well as the site on which it was posted. It was then planned to make authorship play a key role in ranking.
The Final Act
Google decided to end the use of authorship because they felt the efforts and resources required to process the authorship data were not equal to the value it brought to users. There were a number of areas Google found authorship missed the mark including:
* Poor understanding of how to use and apply authorship
* Too complex a process for most authors and content managers
* Inaccurate auto-attribution linking the wrong authors to content
* No value added for searchers
* No proven increase in clicks for authorship images
* Authorship did not seem to persuade searchers to click nor did it change the way they searched
Failure to Participate
A final major factor in the disintegration of Google authorship was findings that very few authors were taking advantage of the feature. According to an article posted by SEL 70% of authors did not use authorship to tie their name to content even if they were published on major web sites.
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