Google to Stop Showing Authorship Results

googlelogoRemember what we said about Google Authorship? Well, it just changed.

Search engine giant Google has decided that it will stop showing Authorship in its search results. This was recently announced by John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools. For the uninitiated, Google Authorship is a way for content creators to link their write-ups with their Google+ profile.

This news, however, shouldn’t really come as a surprise. In December 2013, Google Webspam head Matt Cutts said the search engine will reduce the number of author photo snippets by about 15 per cent in each web search query.

During late June 2014, Google took out the author photos altogether. Mueller explained that this was done to simplify how Authorship is displayed in both desktop and mobile search results. After all, mobile devices have smaller screens so using up limited space for markup like author photo snippets doesn’t seem like a good idea.

The origins of Google Authorship can be traced to its Agent Rank patent back in 2007. The concept, as it is now, was to link online content to their authors. Each author would have their own authority rating, which would influence search results.

Authorship remained a concept until June 2011 when Google started implementing structured markup standards. It then became reality when Google+ was introduced later that month.

Why Google ended Authorship

According to Mueller, Google concluded the project because showing Authorship information in search results isn’t really that useful to users. In fact, Authorship may even distract users from search results.

Mueller also disclosed that removing Authorship doesn’t reduce incoming web traffic nor increase ad clicks.

According to various studies (such as this one), many content creators didn’t use Google Authorship anyway. There were authors that:

  • Didn’t implement Authorship correctly.
  • Didn’t think they need or want a Google+ profile.
  • Found Authorship difficult to implement.
  • Didn’t know about Authorship in the first place.

There were also plenty of cases that content didn’t attribute any author at all.

So what happens now?

Mueller said Google will continue supporting and expanding structured markup (such as as it helps improve how search engines work. This means Google will keep showing rich snippets in search engine results pages.

Take note that the end of Authorship doesn’t mean you’ll no longer see Google+ posts. If it’s relevant to your search, Google+ posts from pages and friends will be shown. This also doesn’t mean that Google won’t re-introduce something similar in the future. Remember how Google retired Buzz, but later introduced Google+?

The concept that certain content creators have more authority than others is sound so it’s not far-fetched to expect a similar yet improved feature in the years to come.

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