Roughly three years after being introduced, the authorship displayed alongside articles in Google search has been removed.
Starting today, articles will no longer be accompanied by the link to the Google+ profile of their author, as the search giant finds the feature lacks in the usefulness department.
Google finds that the information isn’t always useful to users and it can even distract from the overall search results.
The dedicated page regarding authorship now states that the feature is no longer supported in Google web search. Instead, webmasters are redirected towards rich snippets if they want to improve search results.
These snippets are the lines of text that appear under each search result, which are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it is relevant to their query.
The company has been heading towards this decision for a while now. Back in June, the search engine stopped displaying Google+ profile pictures from results pages. On the other hand, analysts said that the feature had been useful and that click-through rates had surged, which is the exact opposite of what Google seems to think given its line of action.
You’ll still see Google+ posts from your friends if they somehow pop up in the search results, but aside from that the main search results will no longer be accompanied by the picture of the author or the link to his or her profile pic.
Webmasters are pretty frustrated with the changes, especially after spending quite a bit of time getting things in line to increase their chances to land higher in the search results pages. Nevertheless, now they can remove the associated markup from their sites since it is useless to keep around.
It’s rather disconcerting to see that Google is playing around with millions of webmasters out there, most of which actually spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort to get in line with everything Google wants.
These are, however, the risks everyone faces when Google’s presence in the online world has grown so much. A good part of all the traffic going to sites from all over the world comes from Google as many users have chosen to use the search engine to look out for news and other articles, rather than to visit a certain publication’s website directly and pick up topics from there.