Google Authorship Comes To An End


Eric Enge wrote a very detailed and lengthy post about the end of Google Authorship, I remember when this first came out and everyone was telling me how important this was and to get on it. Bill Hartzer wrote an excellent piece about it on back in March of 2013.

This is one of the things that is frustrating with following Google like they are the masters of all things Internet, they start and stop a lot of projects. John Mueller told the  co-author of the piece with Enge, Mark Traphagen, “test data collected from three years of Google Authorship convinced Google that showing Authorship results in search was not returning enough value compared to the resources it took to process the data.”

Of course if Google was just one player in search, then many would not jump at their every command, but having a dominant, monopolistic position makes anyone and everyone doing business online jump through the Google hoop.

The article is a very good read and if you were participating in the program it is worth reading the detailed analysis set forth by Enge and Traphagen.

From the article:

After three years the great Google Authorship experiment has come to an end … at least for now.

Today John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced in a Google+ post that Google will stop showing authorship results in Google Search, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup.

This in-depth article, which I’ve jointly co-written with Mark Traphagen, will cover the announcement of the end of Authorship, the history of Authorship, a study conducted by Stone Temple Consulting that confirms one of the stated reasons for cessation of the program, and some thoughts about the future of author authority in search.

Read the full article here


  1. says

    The link for the article at the bottom goes to a 404.

    It looks like the authorship ranking signal was getting more utilized by black hats stealing content, and less used by the actual authors. The authorship signal was therefore having the opposite effect, and causing Google a lot of work to straighten it out. I’ve seen cases where someone had clearly ripped off an article and published it as their own with the authorship tag, and was outranking the original author.

    This just shows how difficult of a problem author attribution is to solve, even for Google. There’s also the fact that Google has somewhat of a disincentive to fix it, seeing as how the black hats likely monetize with AdSense and know how to optimize it, whereas the original authors may not.

  2. Joseph Peterson says

    I enjoyed the irony of this sentence from the article:

    “The primary reason behind this shuffle of products is Google’s unswerving commitment to testing.”

    In other words:

    “Google’s unswerving commitment to SWERVING.”

    Mixed feelings on this one. I liked the emphasis on authorship. Disliked the emphasis on Google Plus.

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