15 Oct' 15

Google Authorship – Is It Still Relevant?

GOOGLE AUTHORSHIP copy

It has been well over a year that Google has discontinued its Authorship program. We no longer see those familiar photos of individual authors in the search engine result pages (SERPs). There is absolutely no doubt that Google Authorship promoted and encouraged authors to come up with more high quality, data-rich content ever since it was introduced in 2011. After all, Google had expressed a strong desire to utilize author data as a ranking factor, until it decided to stop, and introduce a cleaner search interface.

Why did Google discontinue the Authorship program?

Industry experts such as Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of US-based software as a service (SaaS) company Moz, stated on Twitter:

google plus authorship

According to Fishkin, organic search results with bright photos of the authors promoted higher click through rate (CTR) in comparison to Google’s paid ads. Since AdWords is the biggest stream of revenue for the search engine giant, it was quite natural for Google to dislike the fact that searchers were growing keener on clicking the ‘pretty, colorful pictures of faces’ rather than its own paid ads. In order to testify this statement, Larry Kim, the founder of US-based PPC management service provider WordStream, conducted an analysis that went on to reveal that Google paid ads see a CTR increase of 44 percent after the termination of the Google Authorship program.

google authorship graph

Also may also like to read: Measure Your App Performance through Google Analytics

Is Google Authorship really dead?

Google authorship user

The rich Authorship snippet with the author image and number of people in Google Plus circle is surely a thing of the past. However, is Authorship still relevant more than a year after its demise?

According to Neil Patel, the co-founder of US-based analytics provider KISSmetrics, Authorship is still a thing to rely upon. He goes on to assure that “… we’re not seeing its disappearance. We’re simply watching its refinement and growth.” And we, at Code{UR}Idea, feel that he is absolutely bang on target. With its semantic search, Google has always valued authoritative authors. These authors are subject matter experts who have years of in-depth knowledge in their respective niches, frequently coming up with invaluable non-generic content.

Although Google has apparently withdrawn its Authorship program, these influential figures have a strong following in social media channels. When these authoritative authors share their content, people are more likely to read and share them socially. Furthermore, these content pieces are powerful and reliable forces that third-party sites link to. Google never ignores these signals.

In order to clear all the confusion, John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends analyst at Google, stepped up and stated, “This change only affects how authorship is shown in search (we continue to process and use authorship markup). This is really just about the UI shown in search.” This means that Authorship is still active, barring the fact that author images and Google Plus circle details are no longer visible. And it was quite evident, really. Google doesn’t work on something for three years and suddenly stops it at the drop of a hat.

Maybe the rich snippets will not make a comeback because it tampers with a simple, mobile-friendly design. However, we are sure that Authorship will be back, in one form or the other. Authors need to keep on focusing on creating rich content and grow their personal brand. As the Authorship markup is still relevant, every effort is still worth it.

To know more about Google Authorship and other digital marketing tips, write to us at info@codeuridea.com.

Agnipravo Sengupta

Technical Writer

Agnipravo is a technical writer with Code{UR}Idea. He's amazing with infographics and is often found working with the design team.

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