Google-author-bios-changesGoogle has recently changed how author bios are displayed in the search results, making the layout of pages which have authorship assigned to them different and removing the “More by” author link. However, does this change mean that authorship is no longer important for your website and social media marketing?

Google rolled out the new changes to the layout without making a big fuss about it and some people believed that this was a move by Google to downplay authorship in the search results.

What’s changed?

There are a number of changes to the layout which make the author less noticeable. The screen grab below shows my author bio from my last Red Rocket Media blog as an example of the new display from Google.


Previously, the name of the author would have been a blue link like the title, making it really clear that you can click through to the name of the author to see more content by that author.

As well as this, there was also a link at the end of the author line after the number of Google+ circles which allowed visitors to click through to your list of published articles for which you have authorship. This link, which again was blue in colour and clearly a link through to other pages, has completely disappeared.

One of the things I’m wondering about is whether Google has made this change to get people to click on articles rather than authors, as they have previously said that they want to deliver a better and quicker user experience for people using their search engine.

Part of this is about delivering the results people are looking for quickly and easily. If someone is looking for me or you as an author, instead of searching on the name of a blog or a generic keyword, they are more likely to search for a name of a person. So, from Google’s point of view, these changes help to prevent people being distracted from what they are looking for and deliver what people have searched for straight away.

Should I still use Rel=Author?

As I mentioned in my last blog about authorship, there are lots of reasons to use this code, and the recent changes to the Google search results don’t alter the importance of using these tags to improve your social interactions and visibility in the search engines.

Authorship can help your blogs and news stand out in the search engines and they can also create a following for your writing as people read more of your content and connect your face to the topics they are interested in. This helps your personal branding and raises the profile of your website, leading to new and repeat visitors to your website.

Author authority also helps with your SEO as it is connected to your Google+ page.

Although Google will continue to evolve and change the way that author bios are displayed in the search engine results and Google+, the importance to your social media marketing is undiminished.