Google just made good on its promise to reduce Google Authorship rich snippets by 15%.
Many authors have recently been complaining that they have lost their authorship image in the SERPs. It has been known to happen before (for reasons unknown), but it seems like this time round Matt Cutts has confirmed that this is a deliberate action on Google’s part.
If you need a reminder, Google Authorship rich snippets look like this in the SERPs:
It shows a photo of the author beside the search results. While there isn’t any (confirmed) ranking benefits to implementing Google Authorship on your website, it has been found to increase your click-through rate (CTR).
In the not-so-distant past, Google used to show the markup for any website that implemented the Google Authorship snippet.
Now, it seems to only want to show the markup for websites that it deems authoritative, according to initial reports.
Maybe it is showing the rich snippets for authors that it deems authoritative instead? We’re not sure at the moment, because the changes occurred only a few hours ago.
How do you ensure that the authorship snippet on your website is shown? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. I would think that it would make more sense for Google to show the markup for authoritative authors, rather than websites. This would make your Google+ account (the one you use for your authorship markup anyway) more valuable. Once it is, you wouldn’t be so quick to start guest posting on spammy websites.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment though. While my authorship markup is still showing on Cloudrock.asia, it isn’t for other websites – the less authoritative ones, according to Google anyway – that I have guest blogged on.
What affects have you seen so far? Has your authorship markup disappeared? Do you think it’s based on the authoritativeness of the website or the author? Let us know in the comments below.