If you had a blog prior to August 2014 you may well have used Google Authorship Markup code; a way to link content you created with a Google+ profile. The benefit of using Google Authorship markup was that it resulted in author names and images appearing next to stories in Google Search results. This made listings stand out and potentially increased click through rates.
Here’s an example of how it looked:
You can see how the listing has both an image of the author plus a byline with the name.
Google Authorship was tightly linked to Google+, Google’s failed attempt to take on Facebook. In June 2014, Google stopped featuring Author images in search results (ostensibly because they took too much space in mobile search results), and then in August that year Author bylines also got dropped.
Despite this, Google continued recommending authorship markup be retained because Google apparently used them for in-depth articles (this was always a bit ambiguous). At the recent SMX Advanced search marketing conference, Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Tends Analyst, advised that Google has completely stopped using authorship markup.
If you have previously marked up pages on your website with Google Authorship code this is now redundant and won’t be providing any benefit. It’s code bloat and when you get the chance can be removed.
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Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).