How many times have you heard it said: "For everything else there is Google". When it comes to SEO marketing, businesses live and die by Google's dictums. Take the recent abolishment of Google Authorship author ranking on the search engine. The death of authorship has cast a spell of doom on the content world, and everybody is intensely worried. But, really do we need to cry all those tears?
At Google, there never have been and never will be any sacred cows. The company's commitment to testing, experimentation, and innovation is too strong for anything else to take center stage. The three year old Authorship program too was a grand and glorious experiment and it is sad that Google had to shut shop on this. It's surprising that after asking authors and companies to invest time and energy in using the hidden markups and linking, Google would unceremoniously drop their pet project. But it's not like we didn't see it coming. Way back in October of last year Google's John Mueller made it publicly known that Authorship and rankings were two different issues altogether. Again in March of this year he reiterated his stand on Authorship by saying that it was being used only for in-depth articles, but that Authorship had little value in general. End users too did not seem to be too happy with the Authorship format with not much changing in their browsing habits since Authorship was introduced in 2011. So Google decided to do the right thing by culling a project that was eating up processing budget without showing significant improvements. And by Jove we know how much the brainiacs at Google are involved in improving our online life!
So what happens to author ranks now?
Google had already stopped image support in June (did you notice that the number of creepy looking author images that used to pop up with your search queries have been steadily decreasing? No? We aren't surprised!). Last Thursday all the other features of the program - bylines, circle counts, display of comments - went dead. But Google is still continuing to use Author Rank for ranking stories and giving them priority.
Author Rank is different than the Authorship, so even if the latter went bust it is highly unlikely that it will later your Google page rankings. To be fair, Author Rank is not a Google term. It's a jargon the SEO community loves to use but it gets the message out loud and clear. What it refers to is Google's practice of ranking verified authors higher in its search results - a practice talked about in chairman Eric Schmidt's 2013 book as well. And Google's author verification process is no way tied up to the Authorship program at all.
So, smile. It is a world without Google Authorship, but it is still a world where key SEO tactics rule supreme. Think bylines. Think good content. At the end of the day, it is the quality of what you write that will help you triumph over heel, high water, and dead Google experiments.