The word is out in the digital circles. Goggle has ended its three year old experiment with Google authorship. While some industry experts saw it coming, for others it was a surprise move! But before we dwell deeper into this matter, let’s have a little recap

What was Google’s experiment child all about?

Google authorship was essentially a markup which linked an author’s content with his Google+ profile. This two way connection was vital for verifying ownership.

Initially, anyone who would have a Google+ account with some content pieces was eligible for authorship. From being everyman’s tool they went on to identifying top authors of a particular topic (By rel=author markup)

One of the most noticeable advantages of using authorship was seeing your display picture with your articles. An eye tracking study conducted then revealed that articles with display pictures enjoyed a higher click through rate (CTR) i.e – people’s eyes were drawn to articles containing photos )
Going beyond display photos, Google authorship also helped in verifying author’s work by providing a content authenticity check.

It linked the author’s profile with other articles that he had written thus providing a “read more” list to the audience

Was it an experiment gone wrong?!

We have all had experiments that have tanked and Google is no different

“We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count” – John Muller, Google-webmaster tool

John Muller confirms that Google+ will no longer track data from content pieces using rel=author markup. The pretext for discontinuation was UX (user interface) modifications and improvements for mobile usage, since photo snippets of authors did not work well with limited space and bandwidth

The assumption here was that at some point, mobile surfing would outdo the conventional internet browsing mode as the primary way individuals access the web.

This comes in as sad news for all those who have spent hours linking their content in an attempt to feature higher in ranks of a search result page.

Why was this experiment a dud?

There are numerous reasons why Google authorship failed to create the magic it promised. The major ones are as follows:-

  • Low participation by webmasters and authors – Google observed that the participation in authorship markup was minimal and those who took efforts to link often made errors. Research indicates that 72% of 52 sites that attempted mark-ups had errors.

  • Further non-tech savvy authors found the process too complex. 50% of 216 authors had no profile on Google+

  • Cases of misattributions – In order to increase mark-ups and authorships, Google started auto-linking articles to authors. However, the practice witnessed certain embarrassing incidents such as Turman Caproe being shown as the author of New York Times after 28 years of his death.

  • Low value to users – As mentioned previously, there were hardly any differences observed in the click through rate after and removal of author snippets. Thus ascertaining the fact that the users were not getting an major ‘value’

  • The slow death: phasing out Google+ Authorship!

    The first phase out was observed somewhere around 2013 December when lesser known authors saw their snippets disappear from search results and one by-line as description. The refining led to reductions in the number of authorship results By 2014 June all the photos from global searches were removed in order to unify browsing experience via mobiles and computers. Also, there was no significant difference observed in behaviour with or without photos.

    While some suspect Google+ as the next on to be ticked off the list, others hope that Google+ would re-launch a revamped version of Google Authorship! Google is in a constant process of evaluating its products. John Muller explained in one of his interviews “Google will continue to expand its support of structured markup (such as This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web” Would there be a 2.0 version for content authenticity check? We must wait it out for only time could reveal what’s in store for future! To conclude, Google authorship worked more in the favour of the writer’s ego than for escalating the users’ experience



    The Internet has drastically transformed the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Marketing today is tougher than marketing yesterday. And tomorrow? Tomorrow, marketing will be tougher, because the competition will be even stiffer. Consumers are already being flooded with invitations from companies of every size, shape, and description asking people to like them, follow them, friend them, click, share, and “plus one” them.

    So how are you supposed to succeed online when the amount of competition hardens every day? One of the best ways to succeed in today’s enormously competitive online marketing environment is to be truly and inherently useful. Focus your energy on creating marketing that people actually cherish, not marketing that people simply tolerate. Marketers should create information and education that’s disproportionately useful, and attention, sales, and loyalty will follow, eventually.

    Effective marketing is about connecting people who want something with the right resolution for them. It involves providing them with information that serves them. This is “Youtility,” and more and more companies are using it in their online marketing. Youtility creates long term trust and kinship. Just imagine creating a piece of marketing so helpful to your audience that if they had to, they would be ready to pay for it if it were no longer available for free. Useful marketing is a process not a project. It is about creating things that matter. This is marketing that people want instead of marketing that people think they need. The intention is to win the hearts and minds of the customers with the hope that they will reward you eventually, on their terms.


    Question: “How can we help?”

    The difference between helping and selling is just two letters.

    If you’re wondering how to make your products seem more exciting online, you’re asking the wrong question. You’re not competing for attention only against other similar products. You’re competing against your customers’ friends and family. To win attention these days you must ask a different

    Smart marketing is about help not hype. Concentrate to help someone and eventually you will create a customer for life. Focus on being useful and give it time to work. To succeed, your prospective customers must consider you to be a friend who provides them with real value.

    Marketers must build loyalty with information and it can be done in three ways:

    An age of Self-Serve Information

    The first is self-serve information: giving people the opportunity to inform themselves how and when they wish, instead of being directed through contact mechanisms of the company’s choosing. Today’s consumers want to know all the facts about what you do, how you do it, and for whom. Use your marketing efforts to teach your potential customers something you will sell more. Think about it – most people these days have a smartphone, which means they have access to a world of information sitting in their pocket. If you are not providing the information about your brand or engaging in the conversations about it, then potential customers will find their information from somewhere else.

    Building Trust with Radical Transparency

    The second is radical transparency: providing incredibly forthright answers to nearly every question a customer could conceivably ask, before they think to ask it. Fundamentally, many people don’t trust businesses. This matters because trust is quite literally the most important ingredient in your success, online or offline. Without trust, you have no customers and you have no future. What smart companies are doing is being massively proactive and transparent. They’re providing Youtility that doesn’t force prospective customers to wonder about the motives or details of the Company; they just offer it up quickly and conveniently.

    Creating Useful Youtility with Real-Time Relevancy

    The third is real-time relevancy: being massively useful at particular moments in the life of the customer, and then fading into the background until the next opportunity to help arises.There are three ways to provide real-time relevancy.

  • The first is to be useful based on the customer’s location.
  • The second is to be useful based on the customer’s situation.
  • The last is to be useful based on seasonality or external factors. All too often, marketing is simply seen as a cynical attempt to get people to buy more stuff. We all want return on investment and good content marketers want to flex their creative chops when they work for brands, but marketing should be something more When you’re confused or frustrated or uncertain about what and how to deploy and optimize your online marketing program, just ask yourself this simple thing, and then reassess your options: Is your marketing so useful that people would pay for it? Make a commitment to being useful and creating marketing that your customers will actually want.

  • Let’s banish the hype and do marketing that helps!!