Google announced yesterday that after three years, the company has retired Google Authorship. Authorship joins other retired Google products like Google Reader to face an early Google grave. We saw the writing on the wall a few months ago when we shared that Google reduced the appearance of Authorship photos in search engine results pages (SERPs).
John Muller of Google Webmaster Tools announced in a Google+ post that the Authorship project has been put to rest after continuous updating, tweaking and honing. “Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results,” says Muller.
Google’s primary reasons for ending the project: Low adoption rates by authors and webmasters, and very little change in “click behavior.” John Mueller stated back in June when they decided to remove author photos that, “our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.”
SearchEngineLand found that “about 70% of authors from 150 different major media websites did not make any attempt to connect authorship.” This isn’t shocking because majority of Authorship implementation was done by SEOs and marketers who were trying to get a leg up on the competition.
SearchEngineLand suggests the project failed due to a lack of Google Authorship promotion and a complicated set up. “We realize authorship wasn’t always easy to implement, and we greatly appreciate the effort you put into continually improving your sites for your users,” says Muller.
Muller also mentioned that Search users will still continue to see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query.
There also isn’t any reason to remove the code from your site, if you did implement it.
Did you use Google Authorship? Why or why not? Share away in the comments.
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