After several years, the great Google Authorship experiment has come to an end on August 28, 2014, but the use of Author Rank to improve search results will continue.
John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced in a Google+ post that Google to stop showing authorship in search results, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup. Google has completely dropped all authorship functionality from the search results and webmaster tools but the use of Author Rank to improve search results will continue. Google Authorship and Author Rank is not the same thing. Here what is Google Authorship versus Author Rank? And you can have Author Rank without Authorship?
Google Authorship vs. Google Author Rank
Google Authorship was primarily Google’s way to allow the authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes. They extended from this idea to link it with Google+, to create a Google-controlled system of identifying authors and managing identities.
Those making use of Google Authorship were largely rewarded by having author names and images appear next to stories. That was the big draw, in particularly when Google suggested that stories with authorship display might draw more clicks.
Google dropped author photos from appearing in snippets on Google search engine results in June. Now the bylines Google says it is dropping “authorship” from Google search results altogether. The markup people have included in their pages won’t hurt anything, Google says Search Engine Land. It just will be ignored, not used for anything.
Author Rank isn’t actually Google’s term. The SEO community has assigned to the concept in general. Separately from Google Authorship is the idea of Author Rank. It especially got renewed attention after Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt talked about the idea of ranking verified authors higher in Google search results, in his book, The New Digital Age.
Author Rank without Authorship
Now that Google Authorship is end, how can Google keep using Author Rank in the limited form it has confirmed? And does this mean other ways Author Rank might get used are also dead?
Google told Search Engine Land that dropping Google Authorship shouldn’t have an impact on how the In-depth articles section works. They also said that the dropping of Google Authorship won’t impact its other efforts to explore how authors might get rewarded, though this makes it harder to know which kind of links to use as tier 2 links and which ones to use as money links, due to this stat being set to private.
How can all this be, when Google has also said that it’s ignoring authorship markup?
The answer is that Google has other ways to determine who it believes to be the author of a story, if it wants. Especially, Google is likely to look for visible bylines that often appear on news stories.