Google removed support for authorship well over a year ago but a surprising announcement from Gary Illyes at SMX East indicates authorship may still have a future.
The announcement has received mixed reactions from the SEO community as top Googlers, such as John Mueller, have previously declared it safe to remove the authorship markup from sites.
There are some clear benefits for including authorship and author rank in search. The main reason being that content is produced across all manner of different sites by certain individuals – this may include journalism, editorial articles or even examples such as maintaining a personal blog whilst also writing posts at work. These individuals themselves become an interesting, trusted source of information and entertainment for audiences, accessed across multiple websites. Authorship tied these disparate pieces together allowing Google to make recommendations not just on what was being said, but also who was saying it.
So what’s the problem if Google looks to use Authorship again in the future?
Well, the issue is less of a problem and more a annoyance for many marketers who have most likely spent time removing Authorship markup from websites. Even those who haven’t gone to the trouble of cleaning up the (previously declared) obsolete code will have almost certainly stopped implementing it on any new websites built since the announcement. Obviously, if Google does decide to bring Authorship back in the future, this means work will have to be re-implemented or sites revisited and changes made.
The statement from Illyes has left things in a frustrating limbo state: should marketers start re-implementing Authorship markup? or add it to new sites in the future? Will author rank be back soon? Sometime maybe? Or even at all?