Google retires Google Authorship

Google has announced that it is retiring Google Authorship from it’s search engine results page. The three year old concept had minimal uptake and was difficult to get the project adopted by website owners and bloggers who didn’t find value in using it.

John Mueller of Google webmaster tools commented

“Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results”

SearchEngineLand found that “about 70% of authors from 150 different major media websites did not make any attempt to connect authorship.”

In our own experience, we found that using Google Authorship improved click-through rates which is a direct contradiction to what Google has said,

“If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”

It appears that the project failed due to a lack of promotion from Google of the authorship programme and because it was complicated and long-winded to set up. “We realize authorship wasn’t always easy to implement, and we greatly appreciate the effort you put into continually improving your sites for your users,” says Mueller.

It seems that search users will still be able to see Google+ posts from their friends and family within the results pages.

You can now remove the rel=author markup from your blog posts if you wish, but there will be no penalties for leaving it there for existing posts.

What do you think of Google removing Google Authorship? Will it effect visitor numbers or did you find your CTR was positively effected through its use? Let us know…