Is Google Authorship Really Gone?

First Google  dropped author photos from appearing in snippets on Google  search engine results, back in June.  Now Google says it is  dropping “authorship”  from Google search results altogether.

But is Google authorship really gone?

Better yet, do you will have any idea what I’m talking about?

What is Google Authorship?

First, let me explain what I’m bearing on once I say “Google authorship.”  It is a method of marking the HTML code in a website to spot an author of an editorial .  Once it really is done, you were advised by Google to cross link that author’s article or profile page, to the writer’s Google+ profile — and vice versa.  Doing so resulted in having a small picture of the author manifest in Google search results.

The image below illustrates what you may have seen — in past times — for a connection with an editorial here on Small Business Trends.  Notice the little author picture to the left of the hunt snippet, identifying the writer.

Google authorship gone

When Google+ first recommended this system, quite a few website owners and bloggers added inside the authorship markup to their sites.  They paid their development staff to code their websites for this purpose.  Or they discovered plugins for WordPress, Joomla or whatever software package they were using, to feature inside the author markup. They associated with authors’ Google+ profiles.  Then they linked back from Google+ profiles to their author profiles on their sites, to finish the cross reference.

Why bother doing this?  Some believed that having an image next to a search result made it much more likely that a searcher would click that result.

For a multi-author publisher like Small Business Trends, accomplishing this authorship markup was no small feat.  We coded the markup language in the site.  A plugin we used attempted to it add it, too, causing some conflict. So we needed to perform a little extra troubleshooting to repair it.  Then we created a collection of instructions for authors.  We contacted over 300 authors.  In a variety of cases, the authors didn’t know what we were talking about (since most are small-business people, not search professionals).  So we needed to first educate them.  For folks that responded back, we inserted the Google+ profile addresses they supplied us, manually into this site.  And we asked those authors to put a link of their Google+ profiles back to Small Business Trends, as Google recommended on the time.  And then we followed up with reminders should you didn’t respond back.

For a small business of six people like ours, it was no insignificant amount of labor.  Or expense.

It seems that now all of that was for naught.  Google first stopped showing the photos. And with yesterday’s announcement, they’re not making any references to who the writer is (even in text) in Google search results.

But it seems, there’s one exception.  Google still shows author photos — but only when bearing on postings from its Google+ site in search results.

As right here image shows, while you do a search in Google now, you may even see author images.  But the writer photo shall be next to a connection with a Google+ posting by that author.  It won’t show for a piece of writing that the identical author published on a non-Google site.

Google authorship and Google+

What The Drop of Authorship Means

There’s some confusion — and speculation — over what this suggests. Some are predicting that Google+ is dying.  Others disagree.

And despite how things appear today, Google may change what it does someday.

At this point, though, it kind of feels safe to claim the subsequent:

  • There’s no point in adding cross references between Google+ profiles and your own site, together with authorship markup language.  Doing so won’t help authors take place inside the search results next to the articles they wrote.  And any advantage to that — real or perceived — is now gone.
  • There can be other useful reasons to incorporate author markup language on your website.  They just aren’t associated with appearing in Google search results in the mean time.  So most search experts are recommending that in case you already have author markup on your site, don’t remove it.
  • It seems that there’s some benefit to increasing your participation at Google+. That’s because your Google+ activity may, actually, take place inside the search results called out along with your author photo.  More in this point appears in  this newsletter by Aaron Friedman on Search Engine Land .  And Martin Shervington suggests you must give attention to (1) curating content of your individual or others on Google+, and (2) publishing original articles and updates on Google+.   Make sure you also comment more on Google+, says Shervington. Increasing your Google+ participation increases the possibilities of you showing up in Google results with a photograph to name out the connection with your Google+ posting. That provides you yet another shot at some Google search results “real estate.”

Images:  Google+  via Shutterstock; screenshots,

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