So the big news this week has been the dropping of Google Authorship.
Yes, that’s right: this is not just a cosmetic change – ie, the author details won’t show in rankings results anymore; it’s an algorithmic one – ie, Google is no longer factoring authorship into its calculation of a page/domain’s authority.
In practical terms, that’s a pretty seismic change of tack – the whole SEO industry has, for some time, regarded authority (and demonstrating it through content ownership) as central to the future Google Universe. And a lot of initial reaction centred on whether this meant the death of authority in the algorithm (is it possible Google had given up on this route because authority manipulation was too easy and it couldn’t circumvent this?)
However, on second (and third) thoughts, it’s clearer that Google just simply felt it wasn’t adding value to the search ranking proposition. Unbelievable as it may seem to the conspiracy theorists, Google may just be telling the truth!
More to the point, it would appear that Google feels it doesn’t need our help, through the process of assigning Google Authorship, to calculate author rank anymore. Google has learned what it needed to learn from the direct attribution of site credibility by virtue of its author and now it’s taken the burden of proof (and its potential abuse) back out of user’s hands to incorporate the analysis directly into its caching/algorithmic cycle.
So whilst it’s nice to know that the ethos of developing author credibility and site authority is still respected and valued by Google, it’s a shame we had to spend two years jumping through hoops to provide evidence that is no longer part of the equation.
The only thing that stays the same in SEO is that nothing ever stays the same.
And in the spirit of that aphorism, Search Engine Land surveyed some big hitters in the SEO world to talk about the future of SEO. My personal favourites (if that’s the right word) are the need for Google to address the growth in negative SEO and, of course, the ubiquitous doff of the hat to mobile- (and app-) based SEO. The biggest, and most natural, trend is the fact that SEO skillsets will continue to diversify into all areas of marketing until the two are entirely indistinguishable from one another.
Saying that, here’s some old school “technical SEO” lessons that bear repeating – for the uninitiated these things aren’t changing anytime soon
<Cue eating words as inevitably, everything changes. Again.>