We added the authorship markup code to our sites. We linked to our Google+ profiles. We linked back from our Google+ profile to the profile on our site. Why were we doing all this? Because having a picture next to a search result, made it more likely that people would click on it. This was Google authorship- having an image of the author and the byline for a listing.
Now Google says authorship is dead. This means no more author images and no more bylines. While the author image was dropped back in June, followed by authorship reporting in Webmaster Tools, everything else related to Google authorship is now gone. It’s completely dead. Google’s John Mueller confirmed on Google+ that authorship has been removed from Google search.
What Went Wrong with Authorship?
According to John Mueller, lack of adoption was the main problem that led to the fall of Google authorship. Lack of adoption was not from the public but from the experts at whom it was leveled. Most of the industries had very few verified authors. The more important it was to be an authoritative writer in a particular industry, the lower the adoption was of authorship markup in that industry.
What Does the Drop of Authorship Mean for You?
It is too early to say what can the death of Google authorship mean for us. What is apparent however is that cross referring your own site and your Google+ profile along with Google authorship markup code is not going to show author images next to your writeups in Google search results any more.
However, we just cannot say how things are going to change in the future. So, if your site already has authorship markup, do not remove it. You never know when Google comes up with other good reasons to include author markup code in your website.
Another thing that I can recommend at this point is increasing your Google+ participation. This is because your Google+ activity may still continue to appear on Google search results along with your author photo.
This boosts the usability of Google+. I would suggest creating original articles and post on Google+. By increasing your participation on Google+ you are increasing your own chances of appearing in the Google search results.
Will Drop of Authorship Affect Author Rank in any Way?
Author rank is very different from the concept of Google authorship. Author rank is how Google alters the ranking of a page depending on who wrote it or the authority of the writer. The drop of Google authorship is not going to affect in any way how Google rewards its authoritative writers. Google uses several parameters to award authors. For example it looks for bylines that most often appear in news stories.
How the Change will Affect Google+?
Does the loss of Google authorship mean there is no more a need for every business to be on Google+? Until now, every business that wanted to publish content with author image had to have presence on Google+. Standing alone on its own advantages can be a tough task for Google+. But as John Mueller said on his Google+ 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.”
With this said, it is definitely not recommended to remove +1 buttons from your post because sharing your content on Google+ is still worth. Google+ will still continue to occupy some portion of the Google search results page.
If you have actually spent a lot of time building your position in the industry as a verified author, then you have definitely not wasted your time. If you are not going to do something that makes others feel that you are an expert, no one is going to care about what you have got to say. And if people are really caring about what you are saying, then you can obviously continue to keep on doing this.