Google Kills the Authorship Tag

Google has never been one to hesitate to admit they were wrong.  In fact, it seems safe to say that Google looks at everything they do as an experiment, and when those experiments do not produce results they find acceptable, they do not hesitate to kill the project.  It has gone that direction with a host of google services and projects in the past, and so now it goes with the authorship tag.

For a few years google has had an experiment going trying to link authors to content across multiple websites and venues.  This was first implemented through a special HTML tag Rel=”author”.  Pages that used this tag would get the author’s image posted next to the link in search results.  Further, authors Google’s algorithms deemed more credible on a subject would get a noticeable boost in their rankings on the search engine.  Then, things started to slide.  We won’t bother to cover the whole sordid history here, as others have already done a better job of it if you want all the details.  The upshot of it is, the authorship tag is now dead due to spotty adoption, improper usage and the fact that many of those that did use it properly were doing so to artificially raise their search engine ranking.

So should we all be worried?  Is the only option left now is to pay for adwords or be relegated to search engine obscurity?  In a word, no.  Yes, Google is absolutely a profit motivated company, as all are.  However, it is attempting to achieve that goal by delivering search results that are as relevant to their users as possible.  This means actively quashing ways to game the system.  The answer to achieve organic, unpaid, high rankings in search is about the same as it always has been: produce high quality content on a regular basis, that is of value to your readers.  If you do that and push it out via your various channels, the bump in search rankings will take care of themselves.  If you’re considering hiring an SEO specialist, consider just hiring a copywriter instead.  You’re likely to get more value for your money, and your customers definitely will.

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