Google Ends Its Authorship Markup For Good
The Authorship markup in Google search was first released in 2011, whose aim was to give credit to the authors of any content they wrote and shared on the Internet. This decision was made after the Agent Rank patent of Google made in 2007. Agent Rank patent allows multiple pieces of content to be connected with a digital signature that represents one or more authors.
Authorship displayed the author’s information for their page shown in search results. Another feature, Author Rank, allowed the user to filter results based on the author’s reputation. The feature helped content writers attract followers and propel them to visit their websites.
An example of the Google Authorship is as shown below:
After three years of experimentation, Google has announced it has withdrawn its Authorship markup in Google search. Moreover, it will no longer track data from content with the “rel=author” or “rel=me” markup which was added whenever the authors wrote their content.
Google took this decision after noticing that displaying the author information was not as useful and relevant as they had expected. It even went on to distract the user from the actual results since it would display more articles from the author instead of the search query.
During this year, Google had already made two major changes in Authorship displays:
- Beginning of 2014: Reduced frequency of authors’ photos. Only a few Authorship results were displayed with the photo, whereas the rest had just textual one-liner information.
- End of June 2014: Completely removed all authors’ photos from the search results. Only the text, that too for any qualified authorship results are displayed like before.
John Mueller, the trends analyst at Google Webmaster, disclosed on Google+ the reasons behind this move of Google. The photos were basically removed to unify the process of searching through a desktop and mobile. Because of the limited capacity of a mobile screen and bandwidth, displaying photos on the phone was very time consuming and irrelevant as they took up space which could have been used to display another search result.
Also, the photos did not attract a large number of clicks on their page, meaning the users are more interested in the relevancy of their search and the author’s information itself does not compel the users to check the website out.
However, Google will still display Google+ posts in the main search results and on the right-hand side of the page. Muller stated in his post:
It’s also worth mentioning that Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query – both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.