In June 2011, Google Authorship was released – its purpose was to allow posts from Google+ accounts to show up higher in their search engine results. This past August, a mere three years later, Authorship would be cancelled by Google. Authorship’s core was a quick and simple way to promote your blog or post. Now it’s gone and bloggers are looking for new ways to promote themselves.
John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools division broke the news in a post on his Google+ account. Citing that the search results with Authorship were distracting and not as useful as was intended, he wrote: “If you’re curious — 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.”
Common sense would say moving a post up in a Google search would return more clicks in the process. This is especially true if you recognize the individual’s picture or name. Catalyst, a search marketing firm, found clicks increased 150% upon using Google Authorship. SEO Body Builder’s Blog noted a 38% increase after taking advantage of Google Authorship.
A key reason for releasing Google Authorship was a likely attempt to promote Google+, aka “Google’s Facebook.” According to their blog, Google+ currently has over 540 million monthly active users, compared to 150 million in 2011. It remains to be seen if Google+ will lose some members now that Authorship is gone.
Another interesting thing about cancelling authorship is the lack of competition. As of May 2014 Google controls roughly 68% of the search engine market. Bing followed in second place with 18%. Authorship worked because there was a connection between social media and search engines.
Some people are looking to “Author Rank” to fill Google Authorship’s place. Author rank promotes authors with higher ratings in their search engine for their in-depth article section. Although author ranking isn’t Google’s term of use, but rather the general term used in SEO, it is still used by their search engine. Author ranking is currently alive and well and it is possible Google may decide to expand it to other categories in the future.
Google Authorship is D-E-A-D, and there isn’t an obvious replacement; not one in the near future anyway. In the meantime do it the old fashion way and brush up on those SEO skills. There are numerous guides, tools, and forums to help you along the way to getting better at SEO including: smallseotools or MOZ.