Is Google Authorship Still Important?
For some time, search engine optimization experts have considered Google Authorship important for improving rankings. However, this concept recently underwent a significant change.
In June, Google announced it was removing author photos from search results, according to ClickZ. This has led many marketers to question the continued importance of authorship.
The reason Google Authorship rose to prominence is because the search engine has been making a gradual shift away from publishers in favor of individual writers, Forbes reported. Despite the change, authorship will still matter for high converting landing pages.
Relevant content that provides value to readers will still perform favorably on results pages. Originally, authorship photos were thought to increase click-thru rates because they gave users a visual, and higher click-thrus typically result in a subsequent rise in page rank, ClickZ stated.
However, Google claimed photos weren't responsible for the increased click-thrus. The boost in clicks was actually the result of rich snippets, rather than just a photo.
Play by Google's Rules to Win at SEO
Another factor in the move away from authorship images is Google is insistent that marketers follow its rules or it will penalize them. ClickZ suggested the search engine giant may have noticed some people using authorship in a spammy way, such as implementing it incorrectly, including logos or filling results pages with too many photos.
However, the impetus for this change is likely Google's heavy focus on mobile experience. In fact, John Mueller, a Google Webmaster Tools analyst, wrote a Google Plus post that stated the company is moving toward a cleaner, simpler version of Authorship to reduce clutter on results pages.
While the recent releases from Google indicate that authorship will remain a major player for SEO, this is another sign that businesses need to deliver a high-quality mobile experience or face penalties.
Authorship can help your blog get found, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. It won't do you any favors if you have a slow mobile loading time.
New Considerations for Google Authorship
Thought leadership has been all the rage in content marketing for the past few years, and Google Authorship can help brands achieve this goal. However, it doesn't take precedence over creating relevant, original content, according to ClickZ.
Authorship is a tool to boost online awareness of your brand, but you can't view it as a way to get better results on Google or other search engines exclusively.
Additionally, Authorship is going to get a little more complicated. Google had already decreased the rankings of lesser-known contributors, even for writers who were creating original content but weren't recognized as industry experts.
If you're getting involved with Google Authorship for the first time or are considering whether it's still a valuable component of your digital strategy, it's important to follow Google's rules or you won't improve search engine rank.
One of the tricky issues for writers to implement authorship is correctly configuring it, Forbes stated.
However, there are third-party tools that can validate authorship and help you troubleshoot issues. You also need to check your code to ensure it's set up properly to avoid problems down the road.
Despite the absence of photos, Google will still reward individual writers because this type of content allows the search engine to offer a more personalized experience for users. When authorship is used properly, it can still increase online visibility of your content.
But your content needs to give readers a compelling reason to stay on your website for the best SEO results.