Google Cancels “Authorship” Program: How Can Your Site Benefit?
In early 2011, Google released something called Google Authorship.
Authorship displayed little profile pictures beside many search results. Each article was accompanied by a picture of that article’s certified author.
The move was designed to promote Google+ while also encouraging authors to build their professional portfolio online.
Unfortunately for Authorship fans, Google’s initial Authorship experiment didn’t last long. Two years after Authorship was first introduced, Google significantly reduced the number of Authorship pictures which appeared in search results (only certain “reliable” author’s pictures appeared).
Then, Google removed pictures altogether. And finally, a few weeks ago, Google quietly announced that Google Authorship is officially dead.
So what’s next for Google? How can you use this to your benefit? Should you still maintain an Authorship profile?
Here’s what you need to know about capitalizing on these changes:
“Removing authorship does not seem to reduce traffic to sites”
Here’s the first and most important thing to recognize: in the post announcing Authorship’s death, John Mueller said the following:
“In our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”
That’s good news. Unfortunately, it won’t be true for every website. How many more people clicked on a search engine result because an attractive girl or attractive guy wrote that article? Did people start to subconsciously recognize certain authority authors in their niche and have a tendency to click on those results more than others?
The answer to both those questions is “probably”. But these lessons won’t ring true for every site. Some sites will be affected more than others.
Google is doing this to make more money
In the quote above, Google Webmaster chief John Mueller said Google was doing this to “improve our users’ experience”.
Well, that’s what Mr. Mueller has to say. But Google is a for-profit company. Like all smart for-profit companies, everything Google does is designed to make the company more money.
Why did Google end the Authorship program? The most likely answer is this: more room for ads.
The data behind Authorship may not have been erased
Google doesn’t tell us much about its top-secret algorithm. However, it seems likely that the data behind Authorship is still playing a role in search results.
After all, Google has collected a wealth of data about some of the most-published online authors in the world. Is it really going to suddenly ignore that data?
And that’s why you should still maintain a Google+ account for both yourself and your business. Google isn’t giving up on Google+ anytime soon, and ignoring its social network isn’t a great idea.
Google will still be using Schema.org and “structured markup”
Structured markup is a system used by many webmasters to improve search engine results. Google, Bing, and Yahoo! All use Schema.org to display structured data.
As part of the Authorship cancellation announcement, Google says it will still be using Schema.org and structured markup – so certain dynamic parts of search results will not disappear.
Those dynamic search results include the stars beside review listings. It also includes the pictures and recipe directions that appear at the top of search results when you search for a certain recipe.
Not all sites need to use “rich snippets” and structured data. Google officially supports rich snippets for all the following types of websites:
-Businesses and organizations
Obviously, that’s a pretty broad group of topics. You can learn more about adding rich snippets to your site here. It’s a feature that only applies to a small number of sites at this time, but could provide enormous search engine benefits in the future.
Google+ pics still show up if the person is in your Circles
If you’re one of the handful of people actively using Google+, then you may have added all your friends to your Circles. If that’s the case, then the pictures of anyone in your Circles will still appear on search engine results.
In other words, you can follow your favorite authors on Google+ to make it easier to find articles from trusted sources.
You need a dedicated content manager
Google is constantly changing and it’s been constantly changing since the day it was first founded in 1998.
Keeping up-to-date on these changes is time-consuming and difficult. Webmasters have to constantly stay updated on acceptable online practices and whatever new initiatives Google is pushing out.
Do you want your business to take full advantage of Google’s next major change? You need a dedicated online marketing manager. Online professionals – like our team at Renew Marketing – are a surefire way to enhance your brand’s presence online.
If you want to…
-Improve search engine results
-Increase your social media following
-Engage customers across all digital media
-Create a personable, interactive online persona for your business
-Give your company a modern and influential website that converts visitors into customers
….then contact Renew Marketing today! We offer free no obligation consultations where we tell you exactly what your business needs to do to succeed online. Call 800-385-7010 to book your appointment today.