Google Authorship

The Rise and fall of Google Authorship for Search Results

You can conduct a comprehensive web search on the subject of what led to the rise and fall of the popular Google Authorship service; an issue which also happens to be the central concern of this blog post

The Google Authorship project, launched and maintained by the search engine through 2011 and 2014, had at its core the very simple (and valuable) idea that an author’s content – wherever it may be located within the annals of the indexed Internet –should be justly attributed to its source. Such a linking mechanism would have discernible benefits in terms of providing more search value to surfers interested in posing queries on a subject.

What the Google Authorship Project was aimed at:

With the complete success of this project, it was envisioned that anonymous content producers would eventually fade into ‘irrelevancy’, since content samplings with credible author bios and pictorial snippets would definitively rank higher than their false & identity-concealing counterparts. But due to a multitude of infrastructural and popular implementation concerns, this venture was bound to recede into discontinuation.

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Understanding the Reasons behind its Failure:

To understand the project’s failure on the infrastructural front, it is first important to realize that Google does not possess an endless resource of processing power; an issue which incurs a great level of monetary and human expense for the said search engines engineers and workers. The Authorship program intrinsically advocated the placement of rich graphical picture snippets alongside content pieces depicting the face of their author(s) in SERPs.

Although this feature was thought to enhance the end user-experience of web users, Google’s technicians (along with many 3rd party analysts) soon noted that the provision of graphical attributes alongside search results did not significantly increase click through rates. The remote processing power that was required to make them available, in turn, did not justify the hefty expenditure attained.

Another reason why the project got scrapped in its relative infancy was because despite Google’s popular advice to webmasters and bloggers to use certain HTML author-bio linking attributes on their published articles, a majority of online writers did not respond to this call in a timely manner.

Google Pulls the Plug:

Seeing the development of these trends, it was not long before Google starting removing large author attributes from its search results; seeing this exercise as something that would facilitate its transition to more mobile friendly content screenings.

From January 2014 onwards, the search engine exhibited a conscious drive towards erasing web elements that hinted at the former widespread virility of its now concluding service.

When considered in retrospect, the concept behind the Google Authorship project was a sound one, and there can be no doubt that had it been successfully adopted; it would have definitely helped in establishing the indicators of relevancy and credibility in the engines search screenings.

Read More: Tips on Google AdWords Planner

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