The Coming and Passing of Google Authorship

typewriter

Google is closing the book on Google Authorship

In 2011, Google announced the widespread implementation of Authorship markup, an official means for authors to claim and be credited for their work. Enthusiasts saw the move as a way to cut back on spam and give honest writers the credit they deserved. Critics suspiciously surmised Authorship to be just one more way for Google to play Big Brother.

In 2014, however, Google closed the book on the last visible signs of Authorship. Once-prominent thumbnail photos of writers in search results disappeared along with visible bylines.

Did Authors Really Benefit from Google Authorship?

For a while, bona fide writers were smiling big. Finally, they were getting full credit for their work. And it seemed like it was just a matter of time before employers would be hiring their scribes based on Authorship Ranking (a much-bandied concept that never really materialized). Competent, well-ranked writers would be able to demand huge salary increases or writer fees, based on their respected standings.

For almost two years, hopes ran high, and beyond the conjectured (but obvious) career benefits to authors, there were other desirable results:

  • Writers would be able to use Authorship as one more tool to build their personal brand. Readers would see the author’s profile photo every time one of the writer’s articles appeared on the page.
  • Since many customers must know, like and trust someone before doing business with them, Authorship would pre-sell searchers on the idea of the author’s trustworthiness.
  • Since the author’s photo made the entry stand out prominently, searchers would be much more likely to click on their articles, boosting CTR (click-through rate) and helping enhance the writer’s influence on a higher scale. Good writers would shortly be famous.

In the end, though, the perceived benefits really never played out. Google’s John Mueller spelled it out pretty well on the fateful final day of the Authorship run, saying, “[Authorship] information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results.”

How Does the End of Authorship Affect Writers Now?

The three-year Authorship ordeal has about as much lasting effect as the wind in the night. In fact, many people aren’t even aware of its passing. All the hours spent getting the markup implemented correctly aren’t lost to writers completely, however. Links still go to writers’ Google+ pages, but Google won’t be affording any more special benefits beyond that.

Writers are once again actively setting up websites to build their brand and delivering content to help drive business and encourage new clients. The best writers, though, are studying the tea leaves to glimpse into the future, and they won’t miss one more thing Mueller recently mentioned:

“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.”

NOTE: The change to Authorship does not affect Publisher markup. If you take Authorship links down, avoid removing the Publisher markup. It is still helpful to tie your website and Google+ page to Google+ Business results.

From Pinterest Analytics to Instagram Apps: What’s New in August

Beach relaxIn the world of social media, just as in life, the only thing constant is change. Put your phone down and unplug for a few days, or heck, look away from Twitter for a few hours, and you’ll see just how much you missed. It’s good to look away from the screen for awhile, so not to worry! As you return from your summer vacations and head back to work or school, here’s what you missed in August.

Pinterest Analytics

Just this week Pinterest unveiled their new analytic platform and I have to say at first glance it looks great! Pinterest analytics by themselves aren’t new, as they first rolled out for business accounts in March 2013 to much fanfare. I admit though, after reviewing them then, despite being hopeful, I settled on this thought….

Meh.

Fast forward to this week and I’m changing my tune. These analytics more closely remember Facebook insights. They offer up colorful graphs and charts that show demographics on your audience, activity on pins from your own website and most popular pins, plus top pin impressions.

Here’s a sample of the new interface.

New Pinterest Analytics

New Pinterest Analytics

If you haven’t converted your business Pinterest account to an official business account, now’s the time to make the switch.

Facebook Newsfeed Changes

Surprise! Facebook changed their newsfeed again.This time they are working to push down stories known as clickbait. If you follow The Weather Channel on Facebook (I hate to call them out but they’re guilty IMHO) you know clickbait. Here’s an example:

Click Bait

Now aren’t you glad you put that phone down? In all seriousness, Facebook is constantly researching how their 1.23 billion users interact with content in their newsfeed so they can offer up a better product and keep you on Facebook where you belong. In this case they are factoring in time spent on stories clicked through from Facebook to determine the value of the original post. In the Weather Channel example, you can see why people might click on the story based on the post. In the case of serial clickbaiters, typically there’s little in the story that matches the headline, so folks click right back to Facebook. Facebook can measure that and, if it happens a lot with a story, it won’t display as often in the feed. Facebook clickbait marketers beware!

Twitter Timeline Changes

Twitter updated their definition of their timeline with this statement last week:

“Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”

Until this change the Twitter timeline, not including sponsored tweets, showed users content only from accounts they had chosen to follow. This is a change in that core philosophy. I’ll let other bloggers debate the ramifications.

Instagram adds Hyperlapse as a Standalone App

This week Instagram has released Hyperlapse, an app, according to to Instagram’s blog, designed to capture high quality time lapse videos even if you are moving the camera.  Currently the app is only available on iPhones; however, there are plans to develop an Android version as soon as they work out the camera functionalities.

I went straight to the app store and downloaded it. It’s super easy to use, does not require an account and incorporates sharing to both Instagram and Facebook once your video is produced. Check it out.

Pinterest Messages

And we’ve come full circle back to Pinterest. This month, Pinterest added the ability to message other pinners in your community right on the pins themselves so you can plan trips, discuss recipes, share a new hairstyle or outfit idea or anything else those pins inspire. I’ve been experimenting with it and it works well. Push notifications are included. The function appears when you click the share button at the top of the pin. Here’s what it looks like:

Pinterest messages

Now that you’re back in the loop, please share with me in the comments what you did on your summer vacation. As you can see, I didn’t take one. If I missed anything on this list, let me know there too.

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