Google Shuns Low Quality Authors

Now that we’ve all jumped on the authorship bandwagon – its time to reverse course.

SEO rockstar, Barry Schwartz first posted about the drop in authorship a week ago. Today, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed a change to their authorship model – reducing the number of results returning authorship images by roughly 15%.

If you live under an SEO rock – here’s authorship in action – a picture of yours truly accompanying an article I wrote:


Numerous studies have universally pointed to a massive increase in click through rate when results are associated with authorship – regardless of where those results fall on the SERP page.  Predictably, the legal marketing industry fell all over itself in a mad rush to implement authorship.

Why Matt?  Why do you do this to us?

Lets use the legal industry as the whipping boy for why Google rolls back some of their most creative innovations.

As word of authorship rippled across the legal SEO industry,  agencies and  enterprising DIY lawyers learned how quick and easy authorship was to implement.  This was the lateset SEO magic bullet – little work, big results and a client ego-stroked with his picture showing up on The Google!  Woot Woot!

Predictably, we took it too far.  I’ve talked to some of you about this and I’ve seen some of you try to game the system . . . so don’t protest too loud.  Marketers started establishing authorship across the firm – tying lawyers to news-rewrites outsourced to India and vomited onto legal blogs. And this, of course is exactly what Google hates.

The Real Value of Authorship

And by the real value – I mean the value to users – is the recognition of great content through highly authoritative subject matter experts. This is a great concept, although horrible christened Author Rank.  So Google is rolling back authorship results on the bottom of the author authority barrel. If you’ve been writing your own stuff and connecting socially, this change is a non issue.  But if you’ve been trying to skirt the system, time to start looking for another magic bullet.






  1. says

    Hi Conrad,

    Nice post. Thanks. Even though I did not know the ins and outs of what is going on in the authorship rape community I think it’s very likely that these sort of things happen across all walks of business. I believe it. No doubt here.

    In earlier Google+ posts I also share a similar view on the matter. That the cut back is primarily effecting views in SERP for those results that did not get clicks anyway. This because of the place on the 2nd page and lower. If we leave those out it will result in less views for authors that did not get traffic on those results anyway. This is why I believe that CTR is show in auhtor stats. A indication of the esteem or quality of an author as I think that the average CTR per author is an workable definition of quality?

    Gr Daniel Mulder