Google Authorship was once the big thing in marketing and SEO. Google made a shock announcement that all those cool author pics were being removed. Google Authorship was being diminished by its own creator. Naturally, it sent marketers into panic mode. They’d invested so much in boosting traffic this way.
It leaves us wondering why Google did this and whether we should pay any attention at all to Google Authorship after this.
In this blog, I hope to answer some of those questions.
Google Authorship and What it Was
Google wanted to introduce authorship to give each writer credibility and proper attribution. This meant certain authors could build their reputations through good quality content. Add in a photo, awesome Google+ activity, and a byline and you had a recipe for search engine success.
It’s essentially like a seal of approval, and it’s worked that way since 2011. In a way, this was brought in for the purposes of destroying the rubbish you get flowing out of the content mills.
With this latest announcement, this has disappeared. The seal of approval has been diminished by the removal of pictures and bylines. To an extent, Google has disconnected it from its growing Google+ social network.
Why Have the Photos Gone?
The most notable change is in the photographs. This is what people will notice when the changes go live, and the chances are you’ve already noticed them. Many commentators have thought this is going against what Google stands for. In fact, Google has caused further confusing by saying this decision was designed to improve the quality of content in its search engines.
One of the major issues highlighted is the ability to manipulate Google Authorship. It’s well-known Google despises people who go after SEO. They don’t want people writing for the search engines. They want people to write for the readers. And it’s led to a number of Authorship-based exploits. It could be a matter of closing loopholes and nothing else.
Understand this. Whilst it would be beneficial to understand Google’s reasoning, we will never know the true answer. Google doesn’t reveal why it does things. It always comes up with lots of corporate spiel that takes up white space yet says nothing.
So, with that in mind, we have to come to our own conclusions based on the scant materials we have.
The Future of Authorship
Let’s look at what photos did. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the use of photos on the Google search results drew eyes away from other results, thus giving a crucial advantage.
The point is we’re in a period of transition and we can’t decide on whether we should dump Authorship at this point. The signs have been coming. Google have reduced the number of Authorship results that appear in search queries as early as last year.
First of all, due to this long transition we can assume that Authorship is here to stay. Don’t abandon it yet. The future all points towards Google Authorship staying right where it is. Now we only need to decide how much we should be investing in this program.
What are the Benefits of Continuing to Use Authorship?
- You can still build yourself up as an expert. By becoming an authority in your field, you can garner a bigger audience for your posts.
- You’ll gain name recognition even without photos. The only difference is people will remember your name instead of what you look like.
- Matt Cutts still said at the SMX Advanced Conference that Google Authorship will continue to provide long-term benefits for companies. Its longevity hasn’t been diminished by these changes.
- Google will always promote users using Google products. The fact it’s a Google product means you should continue using it anyway.
The bottom line is you should continue to use Google Authorship. Whilst some of its benefits have been hurt by these changes, it still brings a number of advantages to people who use it. The fact is the program is in a period of transition. As long as Google continues to promote the concept of high-quality content, Google Authorship will remain an option for companies.
Whenever you post something new, make sure you’re publishing under the Google Authorship program. You won’t regret it!
Image credit: http://www.napieracademy.eu/