Google Authorship: Is there value anymore?
July 8, 2014 - Google Algorithm
Will Google Authorship Slowly Fade Out?
With Google recently taking away the option for authorship photos, there is little to no incentive to verify authorship these days. There has been some debate as to whether or not Google plus accounts are all that detrimental for non-marketers anymore. Some also find it hard to believe that the byline will serve as enough of an influence to get people to click. How will this affect your business, you ask? With Google search results, the pictures are being completely wiped, leaving only author info. It’s no surprise business owners and marketers feel like removing this seemingly small feature will have a significant impact on their CTR. Google news features a tiny author photo next to the author name in addition to the larger news icon. Many suspect this change is foretelling of what’s to come..i.e. Google authorship will slowing be dissolving. This is not the case according to Google. Google still stands by authorship and claims there are still benefits to setting it up.
What’s the reason behind this change?
According to Google, the pictures are being removed because advertisers felt like users would click on organic results over their paid ads, ultimately costing them clicks. Google wants to streamline user’s experience across all devices and felt this was the best way to go about it. This didn’t sit well with many who argued that Google was the one to push authorship in the first place and recommended everyone follow along. Now for this feature to be completely stripped, many marketers are left frustrated and confused (rightfully so). Studies prove that eyes are more drawn to a face photo than those without and many marketers claim their CTR has seen a significant increase since claiming authorship.
Here’s the good news..
First, one of the obvious benefits is you still have your name and info displayed. The second is that you can be confident in the fact that your rankings probably haven’t taken a significant hit simply because of this change. Some feel the slightly larger photo ultimately determined whether or not users would click, but more than likely you shouldn’t see a huge drop because of this change, at least this is the statement that Google stands by. Some see it as evening the playing field a bit and forcing people to resort back to utilizing what they can with features like review stars and increasing the value of content.
Forbes recently shared an article talking about the benefits of Google and Twitter Authorship and addressed the controversial Google updates and removal of images, but still stressed the value in providing great content: “Google Rewards Real People: As Google develops its algorithm to become hyper-personalized and contextually relevant, we’ll continue to see rankings favor towards real content producers that are subject matter experts in a particular area.” They see this as something that’s going to continue to grow in the direction of putting industry experts with proven validity ahead of everyone else, which makes the best sense for users.
Getting authorship is a fairly simple procedure as long as you have a Google Plus profile in place, all you have to do is link it up using the Google authorship page. Just be sure when you are signing up that your byline name matches your name on Google + and you include a headshot.