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Sean McQuaide
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Its easy to peg Google as a company with commitment issues. But really they just innovate faster than us. This line speaks volumes about why authorship is no longer needed: "they've learned how to connect the dots without our help."

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Why it's now impossible to control information.

Information is power. That maxim has always been true:

In the past five years, the world of information has changed completely. It’s important to your company and your career to make decisions based on this reality.

But in the past five years, social media has completely changed who can control information. For business and IT managers, it's vital to understand this new reality. Sadly, most companies don't grapple with how things have changed, and they continue to operate under outmoded assumptions.

The following three truths, illustrated by recent stories in the news, make this new reality concrete:


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By far the hardest to read white board Friday I've seen. But I like how Rand presents the complexity of SEO and why an SEO professionals opinion about a wide array of other marketing initiatives matters.
Can You Boil SEO Down to Just a Few Simple Practices?

It's a question that many of us in the SEO field hear all the time from those outside. This new Whiteboard Friday is for them (and for you):

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This is how I prepare for #MozCon .

This time capsule documentary of the first Hackers Conference in 1984 is a must see for anyone that has ever used a computer. Yes. That means you.

This documentary comes as the Electronic Age was beginning to break way to the Information Age. Though we didn't know it at the time.

My favorite moment in this documentary is when +Steve Wozniak vents about "Electronic Bulletin Boards" and information overload. I wonder how he feels about the Information Age today. Skip to 20:00 in  to see this bit.

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Google Is Removing Author Photos from Search. Why?

Anyone who follows me knows that I have invested heavily in trying to be one of the foremost experts on the subject of Google Authorship and Google's overall desire to be able to identify authors as topical authorities.

So you might imagine that it came as a huge shock to me when I heard the announcement today that Google will be removing author photos entirely from Google search results. Some might expect I'd even consider it a blow. I don't, but more on that below.

In addition to removing the photos, they will also no longer show Google+ circle counts for Google Authorship authors. All that will remain is a small byline in the result. For more details see

Cleaning Up the SERPs
Google's +John Mueller had the following to say about this change:

We've been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)

And that's why this doesn't come as a huge surprise to me. Google has been telling us (and signalling by much of what they've done) that the game for the future of search is now to be won or lost on the mobile playing field. But with the addition of a street band's worth of bells and whistles on the SERPs these past few years, they had set themselves up for a very wobbly and inconsistent search experience.

In short, mobile users want things simple and clean.

It's the same thing most of us do when we realize it's finally time to unclutter our houses. Ultimately, some things must go. You hold up each object and try to think of ways you could justify keeping it, but in the interest of the bigger project (a cleaner, less cluttered house), that old bowling trophy goes into the waste bin.

The End of Authorship? Hells No
That's how I think the decision process went down at Google. I think they understood the value of the author photos, but at the end of the day, whatever that value was, it was not greater than the value they'd gain by uncluttering their search pages.

Google Authorship continues. Qualifying authors will still get a byline on search results, so Google hasn't abandoned it. 

Besides, the bigger project here for Google I think is not author photos in search but the much ballyhooed but so far elusive "author rank," the ability to confidently determine who the content creators are in any given topic whom most people trust, and boost their content when appropriate. At SMX Advanced this month +Matt Cutts indicated that was still a priority, but was also still a long way off in being accomplished.

This is a long haul project folks. Don't head for the lifeboats every time Google makes a change.

Am I disappointed to see the photos going? I sure am. But such is the search business. Google isn't driven by whims or emotions. If they're doing this, they're doing it because their data and testing tells them it will be for the better in the long run.

The biggest downside I see is that probably now there will be less incentive for new people to use Authorship markup. But I have a feeling Google isn't worried about that. As I've been saying, they know that most people never would adopt it anyway. They've got to be working on the ability to identify authors and their content without depending on markup.

That's coming, but it will take a while. Stay tuned!

For another very thoughtful take on this development, I highly recommend this post by +Eli Fennell

#googleauthorship   #authorship   #googleauthorrank   #authorrank  

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Car stunt goes horribly wrong. The driver walks away.

GoPro cameras, plus what looks to me like an iPhone mounted to the dash, capture a super gnarly car crash that happened when a record-breaking jump ends with a bad landing. 

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“Marketing Technobabble” - new cartoon and post on losing sight of the real consumer need

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Scavenger hunt. Andy wanted you to be in on the action. 
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