Around two years ago Google introduce the Authorship project, which aimed to introduce a new factor to classify and rank web pages: the author of the content. First of all the site would need to follow some guidelines, including clearly displaying the author name of each post, using a rel=author meta tag, and making sure the author had an active Google+ profile.
If you followed all those guidelines the name of the author of each article would appear on Google’s search results, and some claimed that this could help with rankings and click-through rates.
It turned out that it didn’t work as expected, as very few webmasters implemented the guidelines. As a result Google decide to drop the program completely, as covered over at Search Engine Land:
Over its entire history Google has repeatedly demonstrated that nothing it creates is sacred or immortal. The list of Google products and services that were introduced only to be unceremoniously discontinued later would fill a small phone book.
The primary reason behind this shuffle of products is Google’s unswerving commitment to testing. Every product, and every change or innovation within each product, is constantly tested and evaluated. Anything that the data show as not meeting Google’s goals, not having sufficient user adoption, or not providing significant user value, will get the axe.
John Mueller told my co-author Mark that test data collected from three years of Google Authorship convinced Google that showing Authorship results in search was not returning enough value compared to the resources it took to process the data.
The good news is that if you never came around to implementing those guidelines, well, now you don’t have to worry anymore!
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