What You Need To Know About Google Authorship Now?

Google Authorship
Last month, Google took us all by surprise when John Mueller, Google's Webmaster trends analyst, announced that author profile pictures will be stripped away from search results. Google also removed the Google+ view counter for both the mobile and desktop versions of the search engine. Seemingly, all this is in a bid to free up some real estate on search result pages. But to what end? Increased CTR as Google really claims, or more prominence for ads? And what do these changes really mean for Google Authorship?

The small square profile pictures gave authors a nice little competitive advantage, and helped users find articles they're looking for. Now, when searching Google, you can't immediately tell which results have authorship and which don't.

Google claims that the change actually boosts click-through rate. But maybe there's more to it than meets the eye. Results with profile pictures used to be prominent. But now, guess what? The most prominent thing in search results is the advertisement section. I smell fish.

Whatever the reasons though, there might be some positive outcomes to this.

Authorship is easier

One welcome change is, this update takes the vague out of the picture. Previously, there was no guarantee that your authorship would make it to search results, even after you set everything up correctly. Now though, all you need to do is make sure you have verified your content correctly, and the Rich Snippets tool will recognize your markup.

This, unfortunately, also means that the competitive advantage you had previously is becoming less useful, as everyone can now get it.

Multiple author snippets

Probably one down-side to the picture-authorship was that you could only have one authorship snippet per SERP. Even when multiple articles from the same author turned up, only one got authorship. Now, every article from you that comes up on the same results page will come up with authorship markup!

Google Plus updates

Unless you disable personalized results, you can still see see some results with photos. These are relevant Google+ updates from people in your circle. That being said, if you keep growing your Google+ connections, you are still getting a little bit of that “social-assisted” branding component: Your friends seeing you in search results will more eagerly interact with your update and quicker recognize you on social media.

AuthorRank is still relevant

The good news is, Google isn't ditching AuthorRank with profile pictures. They want to teach their algorithm to recognize experts behind their content. AuthorRank aims at recognizing expert authors, and helping their content reach more searchers which would help the searchers in turn by improving the overall search results quality. Google Authorship is just a way to make it easier for Google to figure out your identity.

So, as you can see, stripping search results of author profile pictures might not have been a total loss. Some good may come off it still. Using Authorship still has its advantages, and it may be wise to continue as a long-term planning toward Google’s coming AuthorRank.

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