In October 2013, Google announced that there will be less Google Authorship showing up in Google search results. By December 2013, the 15% reduction on Google Authorship rich snippets, as promised by Matt Cutts himself, had begun.
Please refer to the MozCast Feature Graph that shows a 30-day view of data, below:
The graph shows a significant drop in the number of tracked searches that display authorship mark-up. Authorship began to decline by the first week of December then dropped dramatically around the 12th. While this graph may show only around 3% reduction, the change is significant since Authorship had been steady in the SERPs for a long time.
Is the reduction good or bad?
Overall, it’s good for authors. The reduction makes sense. Why should Google show rich snippets for all sites that have them? This begs the question, if you were searching for information on a specific topic on the internet, would you want to read a post by a person who has done some good SEO work, or would you rather get information from an expert in the field who has proven his knowledge and experience through several pieces that he/she has written?
By reducing Authorship, Google is giving more weight to people who contribute high quality content.
Since Authorship is equivalent to having valuable content, it will improve a site’s click through rate (CTR). This should motivate site owners to always come up with excellent, original, creative and informative content.
What is to be done?
For those who are not affected by the reduction, they will notice a significant increase in click through rates which will result in a surge in traffic to the site and higher sales. All this happened because of the lower competition.
If you go to Google Webmaster Help Forums, you will find a number of site owners complaining about not seeing their authorship image in the search results. If you are one of these people whose site did not make the cut, what will you do?
Google is still awarding authorship depending on a site’s on-page tags. You have to make sure that you own a domain that can be trusted, solid links in your content and promote your site/content on social media, if you want to be recognised through authorship.
If your site is part of the 15% reduction, do not take it as a penalty from Google. It is just Google’s way of encouraging site owners to produce more quality work.
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