Goodbye to Google Authorship (but Not Author Rank)
Google has just officially ended the Authorship era that began a mere three years ago.
The initial idea behind Authorship seemed like a worthy cause: helping people share their content by linking their profiles to material they wrote and promoting themselves as an author/expert.
To encourage participation, Google touted the enhanced search engine visibility that content with an Authorship element would supposedly enjoy. Part of the plan was to help give Google+ a boost, since content creators’ listings would link to their Google+ profiles.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Authorship just didn’t seem to catch on. Marketers, experts and others who create content weren’t using it nearly as much as Google likely had hoped.
Part of the problem is that the search ranking jackpot that users expected didn’t quite materialize. In the end, it seemed that this tactic often didn’t result in any significant increase in clicks or traffic for many users.
Now that Authorship is history, it will be interesting to see if anyone really misses it. Many people didn’t seem to fully understand Google Authorship, especially since they often confused it with its similarly named counterpart, Author Rank. In reality, the two are not interchangeable and served very different purposes.
Unlike the now-departed Authorship, Author Rank isn’t one specific Google tool or service. In fact, it’s not an official Google entity at all. The name Author Rank was actually coined by SEO experts and observers, but quickly caught on to become the accepted term.
Author Rank refers to the part of Google’s algorithm that rewards valuable, high-quality content. If Google can verify the creator of content as a trustworthy source (and there are a number of mysterious ways in which it does that), that content will be weighted favorably in the search ranking formula.
Authorship and Author Rank did seem to have a natural synchronicity since it would appear that an Authorship credit would automatically indicate a trusted content source, but Google says it still has a variety of ways to determine the authority level of a content source.
The main thing for marketers to remember here is that Google still places a high premium on valuable, relevant content from trusted sources. If you need assistance with content marketing and/or search engine optimization, KEO Marketing could be happy to help.