Well some of us saw this coming. In a Google+ post, webmaster trends analyst John Mueller says Google has “made the difficult decision” to stop showing authorship in search results. If you go check out the Google authorship support page, you will see the following: “Authorship markup is no longer supported in Web search,” and an encouragement to webmasters to look into rich snippets as a method to improve their search results.
According to Mueller, Google tests showed removing authorship did not appear to reduce site traffic or increase the number of ad clicks. He writes, “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.” For those of you who have used Google authorship in their content marketing you can surely understand that without the tests. What Mueller is saying that in the end, the authorship did nothing to better the web and the user experience of those on the web. This goes back to the “betterment of the web” philosophy that has been mentioned a number of times in MarketingModo blog posts. If something doesn’t pass this goal, its gone or at least removed from search results. This is apparently what happened to authorship.
Mueller continues to say that Google is “strongly committed” to expanding support of structured markup such as schema.org and he says Google will continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.”We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience,” he notes. He concludes by thanking webmasters for their efforts to improve their sites and says Google Search users will continue to see Google+ posts from friends and pages when relevant within the main results and on the right-hand side. Once again it goes back to relevancy. You will see the authorship Google+ posts as long as it is relevant to the searcher. If you learn anything about SEO from Google it is relevancy and web betterment. Nothing trumps those two things.