After removing author photos from the search results in June, Google has now removed authorship all together. So why did it have to go? Did it simply not work or did it detract from paid ads? The internet is buzzing with theories and Google’s party line has already hit the web.
They say authorship was pulled with users in mind. Is that the whole story or is there more going on?
First, a little background: Google authorship allowed content editors to add author information to their content and link this to their Google+ pages. Some saw it as the new “SEO Button” which would allow them to boost their rankings and generate more clicks. It might have been the only reason they signed up to Google+ in the first place.
John Mueller, from Google says it was pulled because it simply wasn’t useful to the users… and that’s the most important thing, right? He even went so far as to say that rather than improve CTR, this info could have distracted search users from those links.
Some, however, claim that Google is probably more concerned that users were being distracted from paid links. Popular commentators have cited fewer clicks on PPC listings in the age of authorship and this makes sense. Anything which increases organic CTR has to draw clicks from somewhere else. If paid listings were being affected, Google would want to act quickly to turn this around.
Is this the only reason? Probably not. The death of authorship was likely caused by a number of things. Mobile uptake may have also been high on the list. Author info was a problem on a mobile interface. Mobile optimised SERPS need to cut through the mess and make information as succinct as possible. Bonus info like the author’s name and a picture of their mug would have to go down as a “nice to have”. In that regard it had to go.
Beyond paid search conspiracy theories and mobile sacrifices, there’s also reason to believe that authorship just wasn’t as useless as first thought. Mueller did allude to a low adoption rate for author information. Ironically, some brands have already stated they didn’t delve into authorship as they expected it to be dropped. So, authorship might have been the victim of a Catch-22.
Here’s what a couple of our in-house online marketing experts had to say about the end of Google authorship:
“It’s definitely a change of direction for Google. Authoring was a useful carrot to get people logged into Google+.
“It now seems that they have lost faith with the contributors to enough of a degree that the disruption and impact on their search result lists is seen as too high a price.”
“Google authorship didn’t fit into mobile to provide users with a consistent seamless multi device experience.
“Google are prioritising their mobile experience over authorship as they anticipate that mobile users will soon overtake desktop. This is a big hint to businesses to start taking mobile more seriously.”
At Hit Search, we aim to keep you up to date with all the very latest from Google HQ, including algorithm updates, search optimisations and software. We specialise in SEO, PPC, content and much more. We could help you to boost your visibility online, get more traffic to your site and find ways to make that traffic convert.
Why not give us a call today on 0845 643 9289 to discuss Google authorship or anything else to do with your business website and your search performance?