Google Discontinues Google Authorship

Google has announced that it is discontinuing its Google Authorship program. Practically this means that the search engine will no longer be tracking data from content using the rel=author markup.

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller had this to say, “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.” 

When Google Authorship was introduced search results would show an author’s profile photo and the number of people who had circled them. Google Authorship was a way for authors to identify themselves as the content creators for display purposes. The image here shows a historical snapshot of such a result.

Gary McLaren Authorship

In discontinuing this feature Google explained that including Authorship in the search results did not affect the amount of traffic to sites. But more importantly many blog and web site owners felt the process for markup and linking was too complex to implement. A recent study by Stone Temple Consulting discovered that 70% of authors made no effort in connecting their content with authorship.

The author profile images were actually dropped back in June. At the time Mueller stated in a Google+ post that the decision to remove the photos was to simplify “the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results.” Now the bylines are gone too.”

Mueller adds, “It’s also worth mentioning that Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.”

For more on this latest development and how it affects you I recommend these two excellent articles:



How to Set Up Google Authorship with Your Google+ Profile

Have you noticed that some people have a profile photo appear alongside their results in Google Search? Would you like to do that with articles and posts that you have written?  This post explains how to officially link your content to your Google+ profile. You can set this up for multiple domains to which you contribute.

Gary McLaren Authorship

Why Set Up Google Authorship?

Having your content officially linked to you will help to raise your credibility and your standing in Google’s search ranking algorithms. Google Authorship is part of Google’s strategy to authenticate quality content and links. By using Google Authorship:

  • Your results will stand out more with a profile photo.
  •  Google often delivers personalized search results to people based upon their Google Plus connections and recommendations. So people you’ve connected with are more likely to see your results near the top!

How to Set Up Google Authorship

If you:
  • are the only person posting on your blog then this is fairly straightforward to set up, as detailed below.
  • have multiple authors contributing to your blog then follow the instructions here instead.

1. Be sure to upload a clear and recognisable head shot photo on your Google+ Profile.

2. Include a byline containing your name on each web page containing your content, e.g. “By Gary McLaren” or “Author: Gary McLaren is…”.  Your byline name must match the name on your Google+ profile.

3. Prove to Google that you have an email address on the same domain as your content, e.g.

You do this by adding the email address to the Work section of your profile. Don’t worry, if you wish you can keep the email address private between you and Google.Google will send you a verification message to that email address. When you verify that you received it, Google will add a link to the domain in the “Contributor to” section of your profile.

4. From the byline on your article you should either

  • link directly to your Google+ Profile using the “rel=author” tag, e.g.Google Plus ID
  • link to your Author Page on the domain using  the “rel=author” tag, and then link from your Author Page  to your Google+ Profile using the “rel=me” tag, e.g.screenshot.673
Of course, make sure you use your Google ID and not mine!
If you are using WordPress, you can skip this 4th step by installing the Google Plus Authorship plugin or similar.

That’s it!

Be patient as the photos may not appear beside search results immediately. You can also go here to check that everything worked correctly. This will allow you to see results like this:

Check Google Authorship
If you don’t have an email address on the same domain see this alternative method of setting up the link to the domain.
See the official page at Google explaining these steps for setting up Google Authorship.


7 Tips to Building a Better Platform Online

Building a PlatformWhether you’re an author, a blogger, a comedian, or an evangelist, or some other business or brand trying to your message across, building a platform online is one of the most important things that you need to do.

Where do you start? As with building anything it all starts with a good foundation. Here are seven of the best tips for building a platform online. Lay a foundation with these and your platform will be off to a good start.

Continue Reading

What is a Marketing Platform?

What is a Marketing Platform?The simplest definition of a platform is a raised floor or stage. But what does that have to do with marketing or building a brand? Quite a bit, actually, because raised platforms or stages are used by public speakers, presenters and performers so that they can be seen by their audience.

In this post I look at how platforms have been used over the years, and how the  platform itself has changed over time, and especially in recent years.

Platforms, 100 Years Ago

A hundred years ago one of the popular platforms being used was the “soapbox” made famous by salesmen and preachers. It was a wooden crate used as a makeshift stand by travelling speakers. When they arrived in a new town they would find a good location, turn an old soapbox upside down, and communicate their message from their elevated platform.

A Modern Definition of a Platform

These days most speakers and authors don’t want to carry around a wooden crate wherever they go and they don’t need to. In fact they don’t even need to “go” anymore, since it is possible to communicate huge audiences using the Internet.

But the idea of the soapbox is still the same…

A platform is a foundation or base that someone has built that provides an opportunity for them to air their views publicly. In the traditional publishing world platform was used to describe a person’s public visibility or reputation and therefore how much demand there may be for their next book.

It is not enough to have a great product. For example let’s consider a book author. You might have written the best book in the world, but if nobody knows about your upcoming book launch, you won’t sell any copies.  You need a way to get your message out, and your platform is how you do that.

Publishing expert Alan Rinzler explained in an interview at Forbes, “By definition, the old model of the author platform was the writer’s public visibility and reputation that the publisher’s publicity department used to promote and sell the book … We insisted on a stellar track record in book sales and appearances on radio and TV. Everyone understood that the bigger the platform, the higher the advance.”

But over the last few years, the way that people choose books has changed. Today consumers search for products and services online. They look at reviews and ratings from their friends or peers. And that means that how platform is defined has changed yet again…

A person or entity’s platform now takes into account, in addition to offline factors, their online visibility and reputation. How many people are visiting their web site or reading their blog? How many people are following them through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+?

Those who have the biggest and strongest platforms are usually those who have spent time providing valuable information, building relationships and gaining the trust of their audience.

Do you want to build your own platform? Great! That’s what I’m going to be discussing on this blog.

Next – Who Needs a Platform?


Who Needs a Platform?


There are many types of people who need a “platform” including:

  • book authors
  • bloggers
  • public speakers
  • preachers and evangelists
  • comedians
  • musicians
  • politicians
  • small business owners
  • company brands
  • charitable organizations
  • and many more!

In fact, anyone who is trying to convey a message, market a particular brand, or sell a product or service.Continue Reading