I do not want to lie and say that I saw it coming, but it would be nice to say that I did see it coming. However, I did get the impression that Google authorship was unsustainable. Think about it, Google was basically letting people that do not put any money in its pockets take money from Google’s own pockets.
Seriously. If you are honest with yourself, the Google authorship experiment enabled anonymous people and plain everyday Janes and Joes to basically step up and brand themselves at Google’s expense. You have to remember that as more and more mobile devices flood the global market, and as more and more people interact with the internet using mobile devices, there is less and less real estate that can be marketed on every search result. As a result, every square pixel that you see on your screen is worth money to Google. Why would Google give up a lot of that potentially lucrative digital real estate to people it does not even know? This is precisely what was at play with Google authorship. This is why it is no surprise to many people, I wish including me, when Google finally decided to pull the plug on Google authorship.
I can not emphasize it enough, the SEO community basically lost its mind when Google played this car. However, I can tell you that whatever emotional outpouring you witnessed when Google finally killed Google authorship, is not even going to be in the same ball park compared to the drama that will explode all over the world when Google finally reveals that it uses the data that it collects from the crowdsourcing disavow tool. You heard it right. I strongly suspect Google will use that data and it will screw people up all over the place.
Back on topic, here are my impressions on the consequences of Google’s decision to kill authorship:
Authorship Allowed for Great Branding
Authorship is going to be greatly missed. Why? It put a face to your online content. You might be creating a great content that adds value to people’s lives and build credibility for your online clients, however, there is nothing better than putting your face next to that content. Not only did your content become more professional and more authoritative, you yourself became more credible. Authorship enabled people to become instant gurus in their industry. This alone is worth a few extra tears.
Authorship Allowed for Co-Occurrence of Brands
A lot of people were thinking about Google patents regarding co-occurrence. A lot of this was theory, a lot of this was just like white paper, a lot of this was just empty talk. Well, authorship seem to be a concrete example of co-occurrence. Why? When you see somebody’s name constantly occurring with a particular type of content, the brand associated with the name can be linked to that content. Which leads us to the next point below.
Authorship was Thought to be the Lynchpin of Non-Backlink Dependent Google Algorithms
One of the biggest technological breakthroughs that many SEO industry observers are keeping an eye out for, is the precise moment in time when Google will stop paying attention to back links or at the very least depreciate the weight of back links.
You have to understand, regardless of however seemingly complicated and intricate Google’s software operations seem to be at this present age, it is still really running on eighteen year old technology. That is right. The core, or the soul of Google still pays attention to back links. Back links is so mid nineteen nineties. Seriously. We are talking Spice Girls technology here. How cute, right?
Well, Google knows this, and Google is constantly being bent over by SEO Black Hat gurus that know this. This is why Google has always been looking for ways to free itself from back links and still deliver solid search results.
Authorship was supposed to be that magic bullet. Authorship was supposed to be the lynchpin of back link dependent Google algorithms. In fact, Rand Fishkin and other highly influential people in the SEO community were thinking of SEO practices that focused more on authorship because they were looking forward to the day that Google will not pay as much attention to back links.
Well, looks like the SEO gurus have to start with square one because authorship was unceremoniously yanked by Google.
Authorship was the Mainstay of many SEO Blogs
SEO blogs had a field day with authorship, they think they were basically geniuses by talking about authorship. They think that people would find them more credible if they thought about authorship. Many even elevated authorship to the level of the magic bullet that would make your SEO efforts more effective. I guess these people have egg on their faces.
The Reality of Google Experiments
Another thing that the recent authorship experience has taught me is that, Google is always experimenting. At the end of the day Google features must benefit Google in a financial sense, and authorship actually took away from Google, because it enabled people to get more clicks. You have to understand, the more organic clicks are generated, the less money Google makes. Google wants people to click on ads, not on organic clicks.
The Golden Age of Non-Backlink Dependent SEOs is Still Miles Away
Finally, what the end of authorship has taught me is that, the golden age of non-back link dependent SEOs is still miles away. Authorship signals may have gone the way of the dodo bird, but Google still remains. This means that we still have to resign ourselves to the fact that we need to earn quality back links, we can not fake our way into high rankings just by having a credible looking authorship snippet.
Also, social media signals took another hit. There is a huge cottage industry of people selling services offering social media signals, and a lot of these revolved around authorship signals. Authorship was linked to the benefits of social signals. Boy, do these people look stupid now.