Not long ago Google announced that Google Authorship would be phased out of search results. In December 2013, a significant drop in the number of displayed authorships. Since then, Google has ceased to favour mark-ups and started trying to reduce the amount of author photos shown per query.
As of this June, Google+ authorship and Video Object images and circle count are no longer featured on SERPs. This is because Google is attempting to simplify how authorship is shown on mobile and desktop results pages.
First, it’s important to note that this change does not mark the death of Google Authorship, nor is it the end of Google’s long-term goal of understanding authorship as a possible search ranking authority. And indeed, the concept still remains, with author by-lines remaining on the SERP. It’s understood that author photos can still make a measurable difference to conversion, and could well improve a site’s visibility. We can also assume that Google will continue to track data that could come into play for any future author-ranking system. In fact, the announcement of the current change itself contains an instruction page for implementing Authorship.
Another thing worth pointing out is that author and brand images remain in personalised search. While limited in appearance, the fact that Google will sometimes still show an author photo or a brand image for Google+ content searches indicates that they have not abandoned the idea that images in this context can have clear value.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of Authorship?
For many, photos in search results was one of the biggest incentives to work on SEO. Whether or not it increased click-through rates, it was an ego boost that was great to show clients. With the thumbnails gone, it’s likely that fewer and fewer people will work to get verified and consequently they will make SEO less of a priority overall.
Nevertheless, Google will continue to work on promoting authoritative authors in search results, and there’s no denying that authorship is one of the best ways for Google to establish “identity” and quality on the web. Google continues to make statements explaining how important identity in content is.
So in short, keep working with it!
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