Home – New Forums Tech talk Google kills the “authorship” tag

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  • #989216
    JohnW
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    Hi All,

    28 Aug 14: Google’s John Mueller confirms the end of the “authorship” tag

    “With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.”

    Google is going to completely stop using the authorship tag in its ranking algorithm.

    Serious SEOs will need to read the discussion questions and answers below Mueller’s announcement. Some of the world’s premier SEOs are in there asking supplementaries, including Barry Schwartz, Doc Sheldon and Bill Slawski.

    Eric Enge has written an informative article that includes:

    • history of the tag
    • reason for ending it
    • their own study on its usage

    Ref. 28 Aug 14: It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1170938
    John Romaine
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    Comes as no surprise really.

    It just highlights the fact that Google can do whatever they want, and unless you’re diversifying your traffic sources and marketing efforts, your online business could be gone tomorrow.

    #1170939
    JohnW
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    John Romaine, post: 198426 wrote:
    Comes as no surprise really.

    It just highlights the fact that Google can do whatever they want, and unless you’re diversifying your traffic sources and marketing efforts, your online business could be gone tomorrow.
    Hi JohnR,
    IMHO, that’s a bit OTT and one-sided.

    I’m not a Google apologist but…

    In nearly 20 years, I’ve not personally seen anyone who played by Google’s 14 year old rule book get hurt for any length of time.

    I know many businesses have gone under and many jobs have been lost over that time but they have essentially been in the content scrapers, spammy Adwords “partners”, duplicate content publishers and link manipulators categories.

    I’ve seen technology change things much more than Google.

    I’ve mostly seen damage done by designers/developers who implemented sites in ways that SEs can’t read or index well cause lots more problems than Google.

    Of course businesses need to keep abreast of the Internet changes but they should also bear in mind that when they publish their content on someone else’s property (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) they are completely in the hands of those publishers. They also can and do frequently change what they do with your data and how they display it at the drop of a hat and you have much less control over that than what is on your own website.

    C’mon. Fair’s fair…

    PS: The reason I posted this thread was because many SEOs thought the “author” tag may have become an element of future ranking importance.

    As it happened, it never became an important ranking signal and if people read the articles they tell you that G dropped it largely because it made little difference to anything.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1170940
    John Romaine
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    I don’t know what your point is John?

    It might seem OTT to you, but I speak with business owners every day, I look at dozens of sites every week, and in almost all cases, business owners are 100% reliant upon Google.

    That’s dangerous.

    Head over to some of the forums right now and take a look at what people are saying “This is going to hurt our business”, “Our CTR are going to be affected”, “Authorship helped us in the SERPS”……

    There’s no point crying in your cornflakes when something gets taken away from you. It’s always much smarter having redundancy in place.

    BTW – Authorship had nothing to do with ranking, I know that you know that already. Not sure why you mentioned it?

    #1170941
    John Romaine
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    JohnW, post: 198440 wrote:
    G dropped it largely because it made little difference to

    It did get them a lot of Google+ members though didn’t it?

    I’m sure that made investors happy :)

    #1170942
    JohnW
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    John Romaine, post: 198443 wrote:
    I don’t know what your point is John?

    It might seem OTT to you, but I speak with business owners every day, I look at dozens of sites every week, and in almost all cases, business owners are 100% reliant upon Google.
    JohnR,
    And I’ve got professional marketing qualifications and nearly 20 years of assessing Internet marketing programs. So why don’t we call it a draw when it comes to experience and knowledge?

    I can only suggest people reread what I said above if they don’t understand what my point was.

    If they still have queries, they can post specific questions and I will try to reply.

    It is also very unfortunate that people who are looking for info are as so reliant on Google.

    That said, you and I are hamstrung in our client support by the fact that the Internet communication world has always been and still is reliant on two elements that have nothing to do with Google:

    1. Someone knows your Internet information address and enters it into their browser.

    2. They follow a link to your information.

    What we have is 19 billion searches per month by people looking for information on search engines.

    On the other hand, people essentially go to Facebook and other social media sites for entertainment.

    You can complain till you are blue in the face about unfairness in the world where people are looking for information but you can’t change the fact that search engines are predominantly where they go to find it.

    John Romaine, post: 198443 wrote:
    BTW – Authorship had nothing to do with ranking, I know that you know that already. Not sure why you mentioned it?
    Seems you did not read my previous post which said:

    “The reason I posted this thread was because many SEOs thought the “author” tag may have become an element of future ranking importance.”
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1170943
    Cesar
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    One thing that has made my business prosper more than ever, is to stop thinking about search engines and look for diverse ways to reach my targeted customer base. By using this strategy, I’m getting both customers from search engines, reputable directories, social mediums and word of mouth.

    The important thing, is to know your products and services inside-out, and work out a plan to find your potential customers, not being fixated solely on SE’s.

    Do you think our customers care about Authorship? Highly unlikely!

    #1170944
    John Romaine
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    JohnW, post: 198458 wrote:
    JohnR,
    And I’ve got professional marketing qualifications and nearly 20 years of assessing Internet marketing programs. So why don’t we call it a draw when it comes to experience and knowledge?

    I don’t know why you’re constantly making reference to your years of experience. I don’t see our discussions here as a competition.

    The knowledge I had 6 months ago in some areas is worthless today, because the internet is constantly changing and evolving.

    JohnW, post: 198458 wrote:
    You can complain till you are blue in the face about unfairness in the world where people are looking for information but you can’t change the fact that search engines are predominantly where they go to find it

    I’m not complaining at all. I couldn’t care less. Business owners should.

    Again, if you ignore every other marketing channel and put everything you have into Google, you’re almost certain to lose everything – regardless of impressive statistics and data.

    Cesar, post: 198460 wrote:
    One thing that has made my business prosper more than ever, is to stop thinking about search engines and look for diverse ways to reach my targeted customer base. By using this strategy, I’m getting both customers from search engines, reputable directories, social mediums and word of mouth.

    This, John.

    This is my point exactly.

    At present, I have traffic coming in from Stitcher, Youtube, iTunes, Soundcloud, Facebook, Aweber (email), Twitter, Google +, Linkedin, Pinterest, Forums (including this one), Directories, Stumbleupon, direct type ins, referall sites (guest blogging, guest podcasting, interviews etc), word of mouth, PDF sharing sites…..etc etc.

    Guess where the most of my conversions come from?

    Google? No.
    Direct type ins? No

    Guess where?

    THIS FORUM.

    Google infact comes in 4th.

    I agree with what you’re saying about the power of Google and SE traffic. It’s important sure, and no one would be foolish enough to ignore it – but ignoring other marketing channels is just as foolish.

    #1170945
    JohnW
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    Cesar, post: 198460 wrote:
    Do you think our customers care about Authorship? Highly unlikely!
    Hi Cesar,
    It’s unlike you to not read a thread.

    I’ve already answered this question twice in three posts…

    “The reason I posted this thread was because many SEOs thought the “author” tag may have become an element of future ranking importance.”

    Do I have to repeat it every time?

    How about we return to the purpose of the thread instead of wondering off into discussions that don’t relate to it?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1170946
    JohnW
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    John Romaine, post: 198471 wrote:
    I don’t know why you’re constantly making reference to your years of experience. I don’t see our discussions here as a competition.
    JohnR,
    The only reason I raised my experience is in response to your post’s experience claim.

    This is the third time in four posts I’ve had to state this…

    This was a thread posted for SEOs to alert them to a change in Google’s algorithm.

    Your post seems to make it clear you are not an SEO but why do you want to subvert this thread into an off-topic debate about the value of SEO versus social media?

    I won’t address your other comments in this thread for a whole host of reasons but the main one is that they are totally off-topic.

    Can I suggest you start a separate thread if you want to discuss the value of SEO versus social media instead of wasting this thread’s time with irrelevancies?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1170947
    John Romaine
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    JohnW, post: 198474 wrote:
    JohnR,
    The only reason I raised my experience is in response to your post’s experience claim.

    That’s fine. I’m only asking because it seems that you have a habit of mentioning it here in the forum in almost every thread you post in. Just curious as to why.

    JohnW, post: 198474 wrote:
    This is the third time in four posts I’ve had to state this…

    This was a thread posted for SEOs to alert them to a change in Google’s algorithm.

    Your post seems to make it clear you are not an SEO but why do you want to subvert this thread into an off-topic debate about the value of SEO versus social media?

    I’m not an SEO?

    …Ok.

    JohnW, post: 198474 wrote:
    I won’t address your other comments in this thread for a whole host of reasons but the main one is that they are totally off-topic

    They might seem off topic, but it’s important that business owners understand that Google is constantly changing the rules.

    Authorship was a big thing – now it’s gone. I was merely highlighting the importance of diversifying your marketing efforts. Sure, authorship meant little (if anything) in terms of achieving better rankings, but the basic fundamentals still apply – they’ll make changes whenever it suits them.

    JohnW, post: 198474 wrote:
    Can I suggest you start a separate thread if you want to discuss the value of SEO versus social media instead of wasting this thread’s time with irrelevancies?

    I’m not talking about social media at all.

    No offence John, you’re a smart guy, but I think you’ve missed the point completely. All good.

    #1170948
    Cesar
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    JohnW, post: 198472 wrote:
    Hi Cesar,
    It’s unlike you to not read a thread.

    I’ve already answered this question twice in three posts…

    “The reason I posted this thread was because many SEOs thought the “author” tag may have become an element of future ranking importance.”

    Do I have to repeat it every time?

    How about we return to the purpose of the thread instead of wondering off into discussions that don’t relate to it?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    Hey John,

    Nothing directed at you, I was just trying to point out that business owners should start focusing on their businesses and not what is being said online about SE’s. Just today they are saying Authorship is dead, and now they are saying Author Rank is not. It’s no wonder business owners get confused and frustrated.

    Like I said before, forget what is being said online. Learn your products and services inside-out, get yourself a reputable web designer who knows about correct structure, a copywriter who knows how to write for humans and is adept with keywords, and finally, a reputable online marketer.

    You can find all these professionals here on FS. Forget the garbage being said online about SE’s, put all focus on your business and customers.

    #1170949
    Byron Trzeciak
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    As much as this thread might have gone a little off topic for JohnW it’s still an entertaining read none the less.

    Is it disappointing that authorship was removed? Somewhat disappointing in my opinion. I think the concept certainly had potential but as mentioned it has little to do with improving ranking or traffic.

    Most of that issue was likely caused by Google+, it’s lack of adoption followed by an inability for most business owners to implement it easily and successfully.

    Like most things with SEs I always saw it as a long term investment of my time where one day content developed with my name to it, and on SEO and online marketing, might perform better than topics I write about the weather for example. This doesn’t need authorship for that to be true and is already the case even when I don’t write about the weather ;-)

    I don’t think “x” number of years developing content means you should rank higher than “x -1” years however it does show consistency and whether the quality of your content, over time, was well received.

    As for the SEs vs “other traffic sources” debate. Diversity is key. Nobody doubts the power of Google but businesses should start focusing on the power of “other traffic sources” in conjunction with Google. The two sources go hand in hand.

    #1170950
    JohnW
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    Byron Trzeciak, post: 198485 wrote:
    Is it disappointing that authorship was removed? Somewhat disappointing in my opinion. I think the concept certainly had potential but as mentioned it has little to do with improving ranking or traffic…

    I don’t think “x” number of years developing content means you should rank higher than “x -1” years however it does show consistency and whether the quality of your content, over time, was well received.
    Hi Byron,
    I always felt its application was too narrow and potentially spammable to be given much value in the ranking algo.

    I subscribe to many email newsletters on marketing, SEO, e-commerce, etc. These are largely curated content that has been scraped from all over. I would suggest that 80%+ of the articles are self promotional and of questionable accuracty, quality and/or value.

    I could never see how volume of articles published by an author could be used as a quality signal by search engines. As you say, volume does not equal expertise or knowledge.

    Another area of possible SE ranking signals that some people seem to think may be important are bounce rates, time on site and pageviews.

    Again, I can’t see it because:

    It can be argued that more pageviews can be a sign of a poorly organised and structured site, not a good one.

    Smartphone usage has halved the pageview averages and reduced time on site because so many of these searchers only want a phone number or an address.

    There are only a small number and certain types of sites where a long time on site offers any indication of its interest value.

    Put me down for a “no” on the usage of these elements in ranking algos.

    Byron Trzeciak, post: 198485 wrote:
    As for the SEs vs “other traffic sources” debate. Diversity is key. Nobody doubts the power of Google but businesses should start focusing on the power of “other traffic sources” in conjunction with Google. The two sources go hand in hand.
    I’ve never suggested Internet info delivery is exclusively search engines but that is such a large and diverse topic that it needs a different thread to this.

    The problems those types of discussions will run into will include

    • No performance criteria or no uniform criteria
    • Lack of knowledge and expertise by the implementers
    • Bias by the different types of service providers.
    • The lack of quality and incompleteness of implementation with any delivery medium.

    Regs,
    JohnW

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