Last month, Google announced it was ending its programme Google Authorship. It will stop showing authorship data in search results and will stop tracking authorship mark-up.
Many people in the blogosphere saw this coming. Prior to any changes, Google linked authors to the content they’d created, showing an author’s picture (taken from their Google+ profile page) in search results, their name, and the number of G+ circles the author had been added to. It allowed Google to rank content that had authority. But by June this year, the writers’ pictures had fallen by the wayside and by the end of August, the author’s byline had been removed too.
Google blamed poor uptake for the changes and I guess, knowing Google, that Authorship can’t have been performing otherwise it wouldn’t have been scrapped.
Is there still value in authorship?
But that doesn’t mean that the entire notion of authorship in general should be dismissed. The Google version may no longer be an SEO driver but best practice surrounding being an author is still good SEO karma, at least at Southerly we believe so.
A little while ago we said that while the practise of link building for SEO might be dead, it is a good thing because it means you’re hanging in the right crowds. Same is true for authorship – it is still of holistic value to the audience that the original author can somehow be verified. One thing we are adamant about when we meet a new client who needs help with their content market strategy is that if they are going to have a blog, it should be attributed to someone within the business (even if it is ghostwritten) because frankly, a ‘faceless’ blog is just a big old company advert and no one is going to want to engage with that.
Meanwhile, there are new developments within the ‘news’ section of Google search results – a few days back, eagle eyed commentators spotted various new sources of content that had started to pop up, such as Reddit. A Google spokesperson told the online publication Search Engine Land that:
“We will be pulling from all over the web, which means that we will present as diverse a range of voices as possible to ensure we get users to the answer they are looking for.
“We are always working to give our users the best possible answer to their question. That might come in the form of a video, a press release, a blog, a photo, a social media post or a news article.”
More opportunities for quality content to get a look in? Could be. Just make sure you put your name to it.