Google Authorship is dead. Long live Google Authorship. That may sound like pure flapdoodle, but claims of Authorship’s literal death may be premature.
Believe it: the quest to rank good quality content from people who know what they’re on about still lives. Google isn’t pulling the plug on that overall aim, which remains a worthy one. No one involved in article writing or content writing more broadly can afford to ignore this.
Writing recently in The Drum, SEO consultant Malcolm Slade made the perspicuous observation that what was abandoned by Google wasn’t the entire project of evaluating good quality authors. What bit the dust was the massively flawed exercise in automatically linking and marking up content to the author’s Google+ account.
As he put it: “Google will continue to explore ways of identifying authors, be it via an automated method, new mark-up or by employing someone to sit at a screen and do it. The concept of Author Rank is still on Google’s radar and authorship just makes sense for users.”
In short, that means holding fast to Authorship’s best practises.
Slade’s views are shared by internet marketing strategist Pam Aungst, who makes the entirely plausible claim that everyone needs to read between the lines when Google issues a statement. Jumping to apparently obvious conclusions is usually to jump to the wrong conclusions, at least as far as Google is concerned. Google only claimed it was going to “stop showing authorship in search results.” Not “We are sending authorship evaluation – hook, line and sinker – down the toilet”
That means that it would be rash to conclude anything other than that an author’s reputation continues to hold value on Google+. It’s just not being displayed as such (for the time being). Having a strong presence as an author on Google+, in other words, still counts and will still influence rankings.
And when you take into consideration the fact that (as Aungst points out), just after it made its Authorship announcement, Google acquired a patent. A patent that enables it to evaluate an author’s reputation as an authoritative source on the content and then link that data to any query made by a searcher on Google+.
So, what should you do now that Authorship has gone? Keep calm and carry on as before.