I always find it amusing when people that don’t stay up to date start talking about things they don’t know about. For anyone out there still walking around and talking about how cool Google Authorship is and how it effects their ranking, I hate to break it to you, but that test is dead.
What Google Authorship Was
Google Authorship was Google’s primary way to allow the authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes. You would assert it by making use of “markup,” code hidden from view but within the web pages. Google then extended from this original idea to link it to Google+, as a step to create a Google controlled system of identifying authors and therefore managing identities.
Those authors who were making use of Google Authorship were rewarded by having their author names and images appear next to stories.
Google ended Google Authorship and the image support was dropped in June of 2014. Everything related to the program are gone, including the bylines. It is all dead.
You may be wondering about the markup people have included in their pages. Google tells us that it will just be ignored, and not used for anything. But before you remove it, keep in mind that markups may be used by other companies and services.
What Author Rank Is
Completely separate from Google Authorship is the idea of Author Rank, where if Google knows who authored a story, it may somehow alter the rankings of that story, perhaps to give it a boost if authored by someone deemed trustworthy.
Author Rank is not a Google term. It is a term that the SEO community has assigned to the concept in general.
Author Rank Is Real – And Goes On!
In March of 2014, after Amit Singhal, the head of Google search, said that Author Rank still isn’t being used, the head of Google’s web spam team gave a caveat of where Author Rank was used: for the “in-depth articles” section, when it sometimes appears, of Google’s search results.
Author Rank Without Authorship
Now that we have confirmed that Google Authorship is dead, how can google keep using Author Rank in the limited form it has confirmed? Or is that dead too?
Google has stated that dropping Google Authorship should not have an impact on how the in-depth articles section works. Google also said that the dropping of Google Authorship will not impact its other efforts to explore how authors will be rewarded.
How is this when Google has also said that it is ignoring authorship markup?
The answer is that Google has other ways of determining who an author of a story is. If it wants, Google is likely to look for visible bylines that often appear on news stories. These existed before Authorship and they are not going away.
This also means that if you are concerned that additional Author Rank is likely to come, then think bylines. That is going to be the chief alternative way to indicate who is the author of a story. Don’t fret too much. Byline stories as appropriate, but more importantly, make sure the quality of the stories you author make you proud to identified as the author of them.