After officially dropping authorship bylines from Google search results, Google will now stop tracking written content by authors that have added authorship recognition to their page. Google authorship was originally set out with the intention to allow writers to claim their content and to gain recognition from followers by displaying their name within search results.
John Mueller of Google claimed on Google+ the following statement:
“I’ve been involved since we first started testing authorship markup and displaying it in search results. We’ve gotten lots of useful feedback from all kinds of webmasters and users, and we’ve tweaked, updated, and honed recognition and displaying of authorship information. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.” (Mueller, Google)
Mueller suggests that the authorship recognition had become a distraction for webmasters and users, creating somewhat of a problem for search engines to understand the content and context of pages on the internet. Mueller goes on further to suggest:
“Going forward, we’re strongly committed to continuing and expanding our support of structured markup (such as schema.org). This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and we’ll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.” (Mueller, Google)
It appears that prior to the suspension of the authorship bylink, in June 2011 Google had once provided author images within search results. However, two years later Google subsequently dropped this service allowing for just the authorship bylink to be displayed. Shortly after this, Google removed the authorship profile completely from search results.
In addition to this function, an author rank feature was put in place to reassure users that useless information would be filtered out through a scoring system of the reputation of the author and its reliable information. This functionality has now evidently been removed.
Ultimately, after years of observing and experimenting, Google concluded that the authorship feature would be dropped as it did not appear to be as valuable to users as hoped. Google felt this had posed as a distraction and was not delivering the results that they had previously expected.