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JD Ebberly
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BREAKING: Google Kills Authorship Completely!

Read an exclusive report by +Eric Enge and me at +Search Engine Land Read >> http://stonet.co/AuthorshipDead
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I’ve been involved since we first started testing authorship markup and displaying it in search results. We've gotten lots of useful feedback from all kinds of webmasters and users, and we've tweaked, updated, and honed recognition and displaying of authorship information. 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. 

(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.)

On a personal note, it's been fun and interesting travelling the road of authorship with all of you. There have been weird quirks, bugs, some spam to fight, but the most rewarding thing has been (and will continue to be) interacting with webmasters themselves. 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.  Thank you!

Going forward, we're strongly committed to continuing and expanding our support of structured markup (such as schema.org). This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and we'll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.

It’s also worth mentioning that Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.

As always, we’ll keep expanding and improving the set of free tools we provide to make it easier for you to optimize your sites. Thank you again, and please keep the feedback coming.

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The Next Step Toward Google Having Confidence in Authorship?

When Google removed author photos from non-personalized search last month there was a lot of speculation as to why. Among all the reasons given--from Google's official "to make our overall user experience more compatible for mobile" to the Grand Conspiracy Theories ("authorship results were stealing clicks from ads!")--I speculated that perhaps Google had determined that Authorship in search was "not ready for prime time."

By that I mean that I think after two+ years Google had observed the following:

1) Not enough people will ever use the proper markup and linking to depend on that for establishing and evaluating authored content.

2) Because of #1, showing author photos in search gives a disproportionate implied trust signal to a relatively small subset of content, a signal Google was not yet prepared to certify.

Given that, I found the article by +Bill Slawski below to be intriguing confirmation of the likelihood of my speculation. Bill provides evidence that Google is already moving forward into the next stage of entity identification. Google is developing methods to be able to recognize and evaluate entities (such as authors) at huge scale without depending on human actions.

Once this is fully in place and Google has developed a high confidence in its efficacy, I believe we will see the "return" of Authorship as a prominent feature of search, and Google will begin to move toward some kind of real Author Rank.

You have GOT TO SEE THIS! The Periodic Table of Content!
http://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/content-chemistry/
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