It used to be one of the necessary boxes you checked off during SEO work. Do you have Google authorship enabled? It involved syncing up a Google+ account with the site you write for. Well, you don’t have to worry about checking the box anymore. Google has dropped support for authorship, and all those posts about Author Rank can now head for the history books.
Also, is this another nail in the coffin for Google+? Commenting on major sites have been stripped in favor of discussions on Google+ and other social media avenues. With no tangible benefits from Google+ via the rich snippets, you have to wonder how many lives the the fledgling social network has left?
Google jumped on authorship around the time of the launch of Google+. The idea was to essentially get you to follow your favorite authors on the social network. It never really gained traction, and the usage numbers have been dropping.
The move was announced today by Google’s John Mueller on his Google+ page. There’s some irony. The reason behind the drop, per Google, is that it distracted from search queries and was never useful to people searching.
Before you think the sky is falling, which happens nearly every time Google makes a change on search results, Mueller was quick to point out you won’t see a dive in traffic. He said it never really benefited publishers in the first place. Yeah, that was the sound of a thousand publishers looking at their in-house SEO. Hide friend, hide.
The new rules go into effect pretty much immediately. You can even look at the structured data tool in the Google Webmasters back panel and see the effect. Also, just glance around Google News. See any authors?