NOTE: Below is a post from Mark Lesswing on the announcement of Google dropping support for authorship for search results. Mark does a great job of outlining why this matters and what Google will do next to fill the void. You can read the whole article Mark discusses here.
Google can be unpredictable and yesterday afternoon they announced that “author” tag support is dead.
1) Why were “author” tags abandoned?
– Low Adoption rate: Publishers were not using them
– Clicks on “Author” pages were low: Google+ adoption was growing fast enough
2) Is Google abandoning the concept of identifying “authors”?
No. There is another approach they are trying that does not require the author to “mark” their work. The new approach is called the “Google Knowledge Vault Project” and it used data analytics to identify original authors..
3) How does the “Knowledge Vault” work?
The “Knowledge Vault” is an attempt at the long sought after “semantic web”. This means searches will try to guess what you are really looking for based upon what Google knows about you and what you are searching for. The details of how the mechanism are not known. Google will probably treat this like other technologies and never release details.
The “Knowledge Vault” connects searchers with “knowledgeable” sources. This means listings from brokers should benefit because brokers are knowledgeable. Exactly how this analytics behind this will work are not known.
4) When will the Google start using the “Knowledge Vault”?
Google announces projects after they are already operational, so I believe the “Knowledge Vault” is already operating in some capacity.
5) How dedicated is Google to the “semantic web” if author tags were killed?
CEO Eric Schmidt has been leading Google in the direction of the “semantic web” for many years. The followup of “author tags” with the “Knowledge Vault” demonstrates the company’s commitment.
6) Are “canonical” tags also dead?
No. The tags that allow multiple copies of listings on a website to be represented as a single link on search results (also called canonical tags) are still valid.
From the author’s conclusion:
“So is authorship gone forever? Our guess is that probably is not. The concept is a good one. We buy into the notion that some people are smarter about certain topics than others. It’s the current attempts at figuring this out that have failed, not the concept.”
Thanks Mark! What are your thoughts about this?