Google Drops Authorship Code but Authorship Still Matters
Over the past year, Google has made several significant changes to its authorship program and how it affects search results. What started with a reduction in author images progressed to the complete removal of authors from bylines and other rich snippet features. This finally culminated in the complete discontinuation of authorship features within Google results. In a nutshell, links that used to look like this:
Now look like this:
See what’s missing? The attorney’s name no longer appears in the search result. This might not seem like much on the front end, but behind the scenes Google no longer tracks or uses data from rel=“author” code on websites. This code was one of the ways Google established authorship – connecting people with their online content. This change raises a lot of questions, but make no mistake – authorship in practice is still relevant. Here’s why:
- Authorship creates a link between you and your online content. So that blog post you wrote about changes to California prenups is always attributed to you.
- Authorship helps establish authority and credibility for your content. Online content carries much more power if an actual human author is associated with it.
- Authorship helps establish authority and credibility for your identity. This becomes more effective as your name is associated with more and more high-quality content.
- Authorship can help you leverage future search technologies and methods. By connecting your Google+ profile to your website and your content, you make it easier for search engines to understand you as an entity. This helps them know when to include you and your content in relevant search results.
- Authorship doesn’t belong to Google. They do not own the concept nor the technology behind it. While recent changes have diminished its importance to Google searches, tying your content to your profile remains a best practice for any author.
It’s a given that Google will always experiment with different ways to deliver the most relevant information to its users. Their constant tinkering with how search results are pulled and displayed makes alignment with their systems a moving target. As a result, law firms need to know when to change, and when to hold steady. The best approach, in this case, is to continue producing high-quality, fresh content that is linked with your name. Google might not show it publicly, but who you are is still valuable — both to them and to your future clients.