There were some warning signs but it’s still hard to believe that Google Authorship has died.
I was and still remain a big fan of Google’s mark-up which paired content to the writer in search results with the writers’ pictures next to the articles. It gave aspiring writers and content producers greater SERP visibility and a different way to attract traffic.
Except Google has decided to call it a day. A few months back profile pictures stopped showing up in SERPs, although links to writers’ Google Plus pages were still visible. Now, after three years of trying, Google’s John Mueller says the company has decided to cease its efforts with Authorship.
So what changed at Google HQ? From official lines it just sounds like a failed experiment that lost its flavour. Results and data must have been mixed from a user point of view, but Google does underline that it’s fully committed to other forms of mark-up such as Schema.
Crushing content marketing?
You don’t need to go back and remove a load of links if you’ve been practising Authorship, Google say it won’t make a difference and that it’s still a great way of people getting their content out there.
Make no mistake, Google Authorship was popular with a lot of people. Not just with writers and marketers, but developers too; in fact the massively successful Squarespace platform includes authorship mark-up as one of its selling points.
Is it a blow for content marketing? NO. Content marketing’s always been about the angle of the content and whether it hits home or not, though Authorship did help bring a human face to it.
If anything it’s another example to show why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to SEO and, especially, Google. Google brought something out, decided to change it, then killed it off. It’s becoming a common occurrence.
Content marketers that have been relying solely on Authorship for visibility won’t be feeling too happy at Google’s decision. But for the content marketer that uses different marketing channels and methods to promote themselves, it won’t make too much of a difference.
Was Google right to ditch Google Authorship? Was it working for you or did you did you see little in the way of user interaction? Let me know in the comments section below.
Another reason for Authorship’s death appears to be the influence of mobile. Eric Schmidt famously remarked some time ago that “mobile has already won” with the medium finally overtaking desktop web browsing.
At the time of Authorship’s photos disappearing the reason cited was that the limited amount of space on mobile devices was causing bandwidth issues and not much was seen in the way of click behaviour.
Killing off Authorship is another way to show users and investors how crucial mobile is to the search giant. If it’s not working on tablets or phones then expect the company’s other experiments and efforts to face a similar cull.
There’s no doubting though that for those of us that did love Google Authorship, marking up content with the rel=author code could be a bit of a pain. For writers out there that aren’t particularly tech-savvy, maybe the end of Authorship is something of a blessing in disguise…
Will anything replace Authorship? Or will people just have to work harder to get their content noticed on the web? Let me know below!
3 ways to make your content stand out
One of the key attractions to Google Authorship was the theory that it could help people become more of an influence in their industry by associating their profile with clever content that struck a chord.
But Authorship’s only one avenue that’s been closed off for people, and there are many other ways for people to associate themselves with great content, share their own, and attract people hungry to digest something original and unique:
#1 Push on social media
By far one of the most natural ways to build an audience is by using social media the right way, especially LinkedIn if becoming an influencer is your most important goal. Connecting with the right people, joining the right groups, and sharing content is a fantastic way to advertise your content.
And although I pointed out that some people weren’t happy with the new Linkedin Pulse app last week it’s still helping a lot of people get noticed and make a name for themselves. Other ways are through sponsored posts on Facebook and Twitter, while Pinterest, Instagram, and other visual sites are great for product discovery and eCommerce websites.
#2 Create author pages on websites
If you write an awful lot for a particular website then invest in web design to create author profiles that really work. Sites like HMV, Mashable, The Metro and others make it easy for visitors to discover content from authors they like by making the writer part of the article.
Big profiles make stories more personal, and media sites that get it right and tag their stories properly make content discovery much easier for the visitor. Have a writer that specialises in tech? Show it to your visitors so that they can follow and enjoy more of the author’s work.
#3 Reach out to bloggers
A standard SEO technique but still one of the most effective, especially when it comes people getting their content out there, is by reaching out. If you have something important to say and are looking for a platform then gather a list of trade magazines, sites, and other areas that focus on your industry.
Time to think like a journalist. Get your thoughts and ideas down as concisely as possible and try to find the contact details of the editor, their deputy, or the owner of the site. Create a clear and concise pitch, be polite, and keep trying with positive persistence and fresh ideas if you don’t hear back.
If you’d like to find out more about content marketing and how to put yourself forward as an industry influencer contact Webpresence today!