Google Kills Authorship Reporting in Webmaster Tools

chadpollitt
Chad Pollitt VP of Audience, Relevance

Posted on August 5th 2014

Google Kills Authorship Reporting in Webmaster Tools

Yesterday afternoon, Glenn Gabe posted “Author Stats is Missing” on Google Plus. For most of the month of July it was accessible, but the data quit being updated by Google on the ninth. This comes shortly after it eliminated photos and circle count, reduced video snippets, and made changes to local and in-depth articles from snippets in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Many marketers believe that Authorship is a precursor to AuthorRank – the future of SEO as we know it. If this is the case, not having access to authorship data will make future optimization efforts much more difficult.

This means that authors with established Authorship through Google Plus can no longer view impressions, clicks and the average rank of their work. What is Google doing with Authorship? It seems they've done a complete 180 on it.

Authorship Stats

As an author, this reporting was extremely valuable. People could peer at their work as if they were a search engine and make strategic decisions about their writing through this level of insight.

Webmaster Authorship Reporting

One of two things is likely happening. Either Google is consciously being less transparent with regards to Authorship or it’s not as perfect as most think – meaning its rollout of the SERP changes broke the author stats reporting. Not sure which is the case, but stand by for more commentary on this subject. It’s likely going to be the source of much buzz for a while.

chadpollitt

Chad Pollitt

VP of Audience, Relevance

Chad Pollitt, a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and former Army Commander, is VP of Audience and Co-founder of Relevance, an online publication solely dedicated to helping marketing and communications executives solve their online content visibility challenges. A member of a Forbes Top 100 list, Chad also authored "The Content Promotion Manifesto." He is a regular contributor to industry media outlets, including The Guardian, Huffington Post and LinkedIn.

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Comments

bradleygsmith
Posted on August 5th 2014 at 9:28PM

Chad,

Just because they "killed" it here. Doesn't mean it won't be revived somewhere else. I'm thinking of when they did it with Site Speed. Remember? Here's a link for reference:

http://iwebchk.com/blog/optimize-page-speed-for-better-seo-and-user-expe...

jeffjockisch
Posted on August 6th 2014 at 3:54PM

There can be little doubt that authorship data can radically improve serps. I think Google is likely having problems in three places:

1) Getting people to use authorship markeup -- if not everone does, it could reduce serp accuracy.

2) Making the identity layer work -- they still dont have a way to verify anything but celebs and businesses. And that means fake authors might be used to game the system.

3) Balancing implementation of authorship with serp accuracy and revenue generation -- If turning on authorship pisses off big brands, because now their content ranks lower than other experts, it could hurt revenue. Though one would think it would actually generate more reveneue in paid search.  Plus of course the whole authorship picture CTR debate.

I'm sad to see the backward step here, or at least the reduction in transparency, but I don't think the concept is dead. Because without it, Google loses a huge new weapon in the fight against gaming Page Rank, one that can be much more fair and effective than Panda or Penguin.