Google Authorship is Dead - What About Google Plus and Author Rank?
09 September 2014

Google Authorship is Dead – What About Google Plus and Author Rank?


Until now, we have put our all efforts to work on Google authorship. We added authorship mark-up code to our websites and we also linked our Google+ profile with our website? But why we have done all these things? It is just because we want to follow the Google Authorship adequately for better search results.

This was all about Google Authorship, but recently Google announced the shocking news to shut down “Google Authorship”, which means there will no more author images alongside the search results. This news was confirmed by Google’s John Muller who announced at Pubcon last week that the author images will be removed from the search results for enhancing the mobile search result listings. It means Google will now no longer track data from content via rel=author mark-up.

When was Google Authorship Launched?

Introduced in 2011, Google Authorship was primarily aimed to encourage webmasters for using the rel=”author” tag and begin linking content with the author who created it.  However, later in the same year, Google launched ‘Google+’ giving an apparent reason that ‘author’ tag along with the G+ authorship was all part of Google’s master strategy to link content to users.

An example of Google Authorship is given below:

Matt cutts-Google Authorship

In the above image, you can see that the listing consists of both the author picture along with a byline. Also, the initial reports have came up favouring the adoption of Google Authorship suggesting a remarkable improvement in the search results and the stats has exceeded the expectations of Google by touching a figure of 15%. In spite of helping the users in improving their profile with their specialized topics and skills together with source authentication, Google Authorship failed to continue for long.

Why Google Authorship Failed To Continue its Glory?

As per the statement given by Google’s John Muller, lack of adoption was the key reason responsible for the fall of Google Authorship. He states that “eliminating authorship does not necessarily means a decrease in traffic or an increase in ad clicks” which although sounds indistinguishable however, the coming time will show if this is a wise decision or not.

Besides reason that have contributed to a downfall of Authorship also includes lack of adoption from the experts side and not the audience side. Majority of industries have very few verified authors thus resulting in lower adoption of authorship.

Muller cited two main reasons for the shutdown of Google Authorship:

Little Changes in Clicking Behavior of Searches

While Authorship was launched to enhance the search experience of Internet users but Muller said that it has resulted in only small changes in the clicking behavior of users. This is not according to what Google has expected. In June also, the elimination of photos from the search results took place on account of the enhancing number of mobile internet searches. Though Google has infinite resources and all of these resources are dedicated towards offering better SERPs but the search engine giant never compromise on account of its quality of search results.

Adoption Goes in Vain

According to the data collected by Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen, the adoption was Google Authorship was appalling .

After sampling 500 authors across 150 important websites, the data collected by them shows why Authorship has fallen to its death:

  •   Around 50 publishers don’t have any author page or anything similar to this,
  •   Around 241 authors lacked profile details or don’t had any profile
  • 108 authors cheers the reason of having profile but lacks links to the publishing websites
  •   Around 151 authors have their profile but with only one or two links to their publishing websites

Apart from these data, nearly 70% of authors have made no attempts to integrate their authorship with their published content on important websites. Instead they just depend on the organic spread of their content throughout the Internet.

If we check this same adoption case on publisher side, we will come to know why Authorship comes to an end so soon. When the same data of 150 sites were checked for author pages, around 50 websites don’t have an author page at all while ¾ of these do not offered not more than just author’s name for attribution.

In short, we can say that the adoption of Authorship was not up to the expectations while Google tried to bridge connection between the author and the publisher  but the implementation does not go well.

Does the Fall Down of Authorship Affect You?

While it might be early to say if the death of Google Authorship will affect us in anyway but the most important thing, which is apparent after this change is that from now on-wards, cross referencing of your own website with your Google+ account together with the Authorship markup code will no more show the images of the author next to your listing in Google search results.

We cannot predict the imminent occurrences that will happen after this change but if your website has Google Authorship markup, you might keep it up for now as you never know when Google will recommend retaining the mark-up codes in the websites. However, the most important thing that you should not discontinue in your practice even after this big change is that you should remain actively involve in your Google+ participation because Google+ is being used for digital marketing since a long time and your Google+ activities will still appear in Google search results along with the author picture.  It will also help in enhancing the usability of your Google+ profile.

Does the Author Rank Affect with Authorship downfall?

Google Authorship concept is very different from Author Rank. Author rank represents the way Google changes the ranking of web pages on the basis of the writer who wrote it or the authority of the writer

The downfall of Google Authorship will have no affect on how Google recompense its authoritative writers. There are various parameters used by Google for judging the quality of authors such as the search for bylines that most often display in news stories. Moreover, the more active is your Google+ participation, the more authoritative writer you will become for Google.

How the Change Influences Your Google+ Profile?

Do you think that the end of Authorship markup code has put an end to Google+ activities as well? And that no more business pages required to be build over Google+? While until this date, for publishing your content with author image, it is necessary to have your presence over Google+ but now when Google’ John Muller has said to put an end to this Authorship programme, do you think it is not necessary to build Google+ profiles?

For getting a clear conclusion of this query, it is vital to recall the statement of John Muller according to which, “It is worth mentioning that the internet search users will still be able to visualize Google+ posts from friends and pages when they are relevant to the query- both in the main search results and on the right hand side. Today’s authorship change will impact these social features”.

You can conclude from this statement that the removal of +1 button from your blog posts is still not required because sharing content over Google+ page is still important for maintaining your presence over Internet and Google+ will continue to inhabit some portion of the search result page of Google.


The death of Google Authorship does not mean the end of your established reputation as an author in this industry. If you have spend quality time in verifying your identity as an authoritative writer , your position will definitely not hamper from this change at all. If you know that your posts mean to your readers then obviously you can continue with your posting activities over your Google+ profile because your posts will definitely never loose their significance from the search results.

By Amit Kothiyal

Google Analytics & E-Commerce Analytics certified, Amit Kothiyal has 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. Currently, he is working in a stellar digital marketing company TIS India Business Consultants Pvt. Ltd. He has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out-of-the-box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. He is proactive on LinkedIn and Twitter to share his experiences with similar kind of professionals across the globe.

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