• http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “My theory is that Google is using authorship, even now, as a signal of ownership and origin.”

    I think that’s a very reasonable theory. The algorithm isn’t perfect, as much as Google tries to make it, and as you saw other sites that claimed your client’s content as their own were outranking your client. I don’t know how much of an impact authorship is having on the SERPs but I think it’s safe to say that there is some kind of correlation. Google would not let that data go to waste.

  • http://www.evemilano.com/ Giovanni Sacheli

    I made SEO for a close Dentist Friend by 2010, he wants to rank in first page for a very specific and competitive dentist keyword, so I worked very hard 3 years to move his new website from position 105 to position 11.
    Position 11 was the last stable position before implementing rel author for the Dentist Google + Profile. After rel author implementation his website jumped in 5 position and now it is a rock in first page, so what do I think? I think that Authorship is clearly a ranking factor that can be very strong in fine tuning SEO

  • Alex Miranda

    The Google Authorship which was supposed to Distinguish and validate your content in search results, has many issues. Google needs to figure out how to stop people from stealing other people content. I have had many of my blog post plagiarized and they then used their own Authorship markup. Instead of Google recognizing mine being there first, they added the plagiarized copy right above my post with their Authorship markup. How does Google not see this? Just as you stated, it affected my rankings. To this day the imposter still has it up.

  • http://www.chocolateseo.com/ A. Chris Turner

    This is a great post and makes me question, How does Google handle situations of an Authorship dispute?

  • GiGi Konwin

    So, does rel=publisher have no bearing on this at all? Doesn’t count for anything? I know the little picture won’t show up, but I would have thought it would help somewhat in the SERPs.

  • Jan Dunlop

    Good question as rel=author is not appropriate for many types of content.

  • http://megarobotnews.com Rob Robot

    Once the problem becomes more obvious, Google will check where content appeared first. It can’t be that hard to achieve, seeing as they already can find duplicate content.

    And of course claiming stolen content as your own is fraud. All Google (or content owners) need to do is sue a few spammers – that should stop them.

  • Jason

    Hi – I’m the CEO of a large online software Company and one of my team just forwarded this great article.

    With year on year revenue growth of 100%+, all growth was stopped on 24th May when we removed Authorship from our website. We’d rolled it out across our site only 3 weeks before, as a test to see if it would increase click-throughs. It didn’t – however up to that point, we ranked very highly for our target search terms.

    Within 8 hours of removing Authorship, we received a Google Webmasters message saying there was a major structural problem with our website and our traffic would immediately be reduced.

    Since then, our traffic from natural search has dropped by 50%+ and it’s killing our revenue. All our previously high performing keywords that were in position 1-3 in Google are now on 2nd or 3rd pages.

    I completely agree with the scenario that Janet has put forward, however there is more at work here. We don’t have a lot of duplicate content as we crack down on it regularly, so we don’t have other fraudsters have added authorship to our articles and claimed it. The 8 hour period of authorship removal to penalty is too much of a coincidence to ignore.

    Our SEO team believe that the removal of authorship has incurred an immediate penalty, just from the removal act itself. We’re gutted. Any thoughts?

  • Cloudy Paris

    Very interesting!!

    Jason, how do you establish authorship (that I think should be linked to a person) for a site that is a company, as yours??

  • John McDougall

    I agree with Nick. While its not clear exactly where this will head, building Authority overall is a powerful concept in search and social, not to mention in the world of persuasion. Google is clearly putting real efforts into this for a reason and it is well worth taking part in, even if limited in direct impact currently.

  • GiGi Konwin

    Yes, I’d be curious to hear that, too. I assume you have a personal account – or can you use authorship on a company Google + page?
    Really amazing story!

  • Maninder Singh Walia

    An eye opening report for me Janet

  • GiGi Konwin

    Thanks – that really cleared it up!

  • shurikenlord

    Nice report. I noticed I’ve been ranking higher than most of my competition when I employed Google Authorship without doing link building.

  • SuperTJ

    Wow, a new arriver to this great article. I also run a health related non-profit. I established authorship about 3-4 months ago in the blog portion of the site, obviously written by particular authors. We’ve had no traffic increases at all. “sites including the CDC, NIH, CNN and many state departments of health” — my God, really? That is AMAZING that authorship could be applied to those types of pages and that Google would give it prevalence over these clearly weighty websites. This really makes my head hurt!

  • Abhinav Narry

    It could be.. your experience makes some sense with the theory of Janet.