The ever-changing machine that is Google has changed another feature in its quest to make a smoother user experience. On the chopping block this time? Google authorship. As of yesterday, Google authorship tags no longer show up in search results.
Most likely you’ve seen the authorship tag when looking something up on Google. It is – was – the tag beneath an article’s title that showed you who had written it. Clicking the tag could lead you to the author’s Google profile, showing you all everything else the same author had written and linked to.
And now it’s gone.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller shared that the Google authorship tag “[wasn’t] as useful to our users as we’d hoped.” He also reports that “removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads.”
Fun for webmasters? Sure. Interesting for users? Yes.
But useful? Not so much.
While the tag may have helped you find content by authors you liked, it wasn’t making as big an impact as Google had hoped. So what was Google authorship doing for people? And what will it continue to do, if anything?
Our own CEO Garry Grant reached out to Mueller, asking if it would be safe to say that you should remove the Google authorship tag from your current website, and if it were at all relevant to keep it. Mueller answered:
“We ignore it – you don’t need to keep it from our point of view. You’re welcome to keep it for users or other purposes, it won’t cause problems on our side, but it also doesn’t do anything on our side.”
Basically, Google authorship will remain, but it will just kind of… be there. Not doing anything meaningful for anyone (other than for added convenience), but not really hurting anyone either.
Our CEO added that “We have removed the tag as its one more line of unnecessary code on a web page.”
While it’s helpful that Google is diligently keeping track of what features people are using, we’re curious to see how authors will react.
In any case, Google authorship is dead. That’s one less thing Internet marketing companies have to worry about.
It’s like the Clash asks: “Should I stay or should I go?” Sorry, authorship; Google’s decided you’ve got to go.
Read the whole report here. It’s worth a look.