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Google decided to end the Google Authorship program in August of 2014 because it was associated with “low adoption rates by webmaster and authors and low value for searchers.” But what was Google Authorship and why should you care? Let’s take a closer look.
Google Authorship was a program created in 2007 by Google to help verify well-recognized authors. This made it easier for Google to allocate other work published by the same author and give them the recognition they deserved alongside their name on the search engine results page (SERPs) — along with any content that was relevant to the searcher’s request.
To become an author via Google Authorship, individuals had to sign up for a Google+ account. They were advised to add a photo of themselves (preferably a professional headshot) and a byline that matched their profile name.
From there, every time you wrote a new piece of content, you would add a link to that piece in your Google+ profile. Additionally, every time you wrote a new piece of content, you would add a reciprocal link back to your Google+ profile. This was done by adding the “rel=author” tag.
It was then up to the author to create relevant content in their niche that used a variety of organic keywords and links. This was and still is an important step, because this type of content helps to earn links from other expert sites in your field — which can ultimately help increase your site’s E-A-T.
How Is E-A-T Still Relevant Now That Authorship Is Gone?
Being a reputable and credible author is one thing — proving that you are a reputable and credible author is another. Typically, authors have a personal website showcasing published works, awards, and an “about me” section. But being a popular author on its own won’t establish Author Rank.
Even though the Google Authorship factor has been sunsetted, authors can still build their online reputation. For example, they could include a photo, an excerpt on who they are, a list of credentials, a list of published works/where to access them, and anything else they feel their audience should know about. Users can evaluate their credentials and determine whether or not they are experienced enough to write about the topic they are searching for.
And although Google has included indicators in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines that would suggest that they’re looking at author authority as an important factor in determining a page’s quality, there’s no evidence so far that an author’s reputation is a direct ranking signal.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to build Author Rank.
It’s just as important to build your site’s SEO as it is to build Author Rank. Investing in SEO services is a great option if you feel your site is beyond self repair. In the meantime, working on the following tips are great ways to increase your website’s SEO.
By including all of the information mentioned above, it can also help to fuel the fire that is Google’s knowledge graph. A knowledge graph “mainly describes real-world entities and their interrelations, organized in a graph…”
For example, let’s say you Google search “Target.” To the right of the SERPs you will see a graph that provides the searcher with:
and much more. That square of information is a knowledge graph.
Just because Google no longer has a single program that can help you create a sense of authorship, doesn’t mean that you no longer need to try to establish a reputation. The only thing that has changed is that you now have to do so on your own. By following the above tips on how to build Author Rank, you can increase your reputation as well as your site’s SEO in general.