Google Authorship Cuts Go Active

A few months ago Matt Cutts released information at PubCon 2013 and stated that Google Authorship would be calculated differently and that it would appear for everyone throughout search results. As of December 17th, that change to Google Authorship accounts started happening.

It really does pay to be a credible source of information now, as you’re more likely to have the ever valuable authorship image next to your link within the SERPs. Right now, there’s all kinds of reports floating out there that authorship results have been removed completely from SERP listings, or showing up for a limited amount of results on web site pages.

Here’s a breakdown of apparently three different types of authorship data being seen:

Full Google Authorship Snippet:

The full snipped gets the full authorship package (author photo + byline + number of Google+ circles).

first class

Second Class Google Authorship Snippet:

This altered rich snippet has the byline enabled.

second class Google Authorship

Third Class Google Authorship Snippet:

Where most low quality sites now get placed, displaying no rich snippet data at all.

So that leaves a lot of you wondering where you go from here and how to get that image of your face or brand back within the search results. In order to get the search results back, you must continue establishing your site as a source of information.

For reference, Matt Cutts said this at PubCon:

We want to make sure that the people who we show as authors are high quality authors. And so we’re looking at the process of possibly tightening that up. It turns out  if we reduce the amount of authorship we are showing by just about 10 or 15 percent, we’re radically able to improve the quality of the authors that we show. Which is another nice signal for those searchers and users who are typing into Google and say, “Ah, I see this picture, I see this person is an author. This is something I can trust. This is content that I really want to see.” So it’s not just going to be about the markup; it’s going to be about the quality of the author.

In reality though, this ended up handicapping more than doing positive for the internet. We know that search results were impacted positively on sites that had authorship enabled. Unfortunately, Google allowed everyone from the start to have authorship on their site. What ended up happening, is that everyone and their brother got that photo and Google deemed it as an issue.

So now we’re left wondering what the threshold is in order to attain that image within the SERPs. That’s if it’s even attainable or constantly updating and not like the mythical once a year PageRank update that Google deemed necessary. Or is it the interaction on Google+ that helps you retain authorship? The more active you area, and more conversations you’re taking part in help you retain the image? It’s all a mystery right now and hope that Matt Cutts can provide us all a little more insight than just “be a better website.”

As it stands right now, that “better” website appears nothing more than large brands who spend a ton of money running digital ads on the Google webosphere.

Google Update – As of 8/28/2014 – Google Authorship Has Been Cancelled – Click To Learn More!