Google Closing Authorship Project?

Oct 28, 2013 • 9:10 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

authorshipAJ Kohn, someone who focuses more on authorship and rich snippets than most SEOs I know, wrote a story named Authorship Is Dead, Long Live Authorship.

In that story, he describes why he thinks the classic Authorship Project is slowing being closed down. In short, he thinks that because classic authorship is opt in, it isn't easy to scale at the size Google needs. So Google uses other methods to extract authorship/rich snippet like data from sources to show the richer data in the search results.

He also notes that Othar Hansson, who worked in the authorship side of search has left to work on Android in the past six months.

AJ wrote:

Authorship then becomes about Google's ability to extract entities from documents, matching those entities to a corpus that contains descriptors of that entity (i.e. – social profiles, official page(s), subjects) and then measuring the activity around that entity....

...The presence of Authorship markup might increase the confidence level of the match but it will likely play a supporting and refining role instead of the defining role in the process.

So what he means is that what you see in the search results, the authorship display, is not dead. But maybe requiring webmasters to mark up their content and if they trust that markup, is dying.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for author paper

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Durant Imboden

10/28/2013 03:55 pm

Google doesn't appear to be scaling back on authorship, although it may be scaling back expectations of what authorship is supposed to do. Take a look at this:


10/28/2013 04:32 pm

I have seen a slow progression towards better use of authorship & rich snippets by Google recently...


10/28/2013 05:35 pm

It's looking like it's going to be a key factor in back link quality scoring, I don't see it going anywhere soon, though I do think it will slowly move away from meta.


10/28/2013 09:39 pm

"Google is also looking at boosting authority through authorship. We have seen authorship becoming more and more important when it comes for search results and visibility in those results; Cutts confirmed this is the direction in which Google will continue to move." Gotta love all the contradictary information in the SEO world.

Mark Traphagen

10/28/2013 11:35 pm

Read AJ's post. He's distinguishing between Authorship as markup (which is dependent upon user opt in), and Authorship as a bigger scheme by Google to identify authors, not necessarily dependent upon markup. Authorship as a concept is not going away.

Dinesh Kumar

10/29/2013 07:10 am

Right now I don't think it'll removed by Google, good to create trust with content authorship... may be it'll away after some time or replaced with other updates... AJ define that it'll not be considering in ranking factor but don't forget its showing in SERP rankings ....

Jitendra Vaswani

10/29/2013 07:25 am

Yes durant I agree


10/30/2013 04:35 am

How long was "authorship and rich snippet " in existence. How can they die without seeing the "light of the day"? Didn't Google fore see challenges with these products before they rolled them put, only to allow them to die so young?

Mark Traphagen

10/30/2013 12:28 pm

It sounds like you haven't read AJ's article, linked in this post. If you did, you'd know he isn't saying Authorship and the associated rich snippet are going out of existence. Far from it. Rather, he merely points out that it appears it is no longer a separate project with its own department at Google. And he sees that as a good and healthy thing for the future of Authorship and author-subject authority at Google, because he thinks that Google is abandoning trying to force everyone to conform to its proprietary method of attributing Authorship, and is now moving toward being able to determine and apply it more broadly, using clues other than just markup.

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