You may have noticed by now that Google is placing a lot of emphasis on authorship these days. Just last week, they announced the addition of authorship clicks and impressions to Webmaster Tools.
Apparently Google is pushing authorship markup so hard they are eliminating other ways for users to find content by author. They have eliminated the “author:” search operator in Google News, which allowed users to find article specific to one author. Now, it’s all about authorship markup, like Google has been pushing in its regular web search results. In a post in the Google Help Forums (via Search Engine Roundtable), a Googler, Erik S., commented:
The author: search operator is no longer available. For author-specific Google News content, I would recommend use of the Authorship capabilities in Google News, introduced last month. Integration with Google+ circles means easier following and engagement between authors and readers.
Authorship markup is actually not only a way for authors to gain visibility in search, but a way for Google to gain visibility for its Google Profiles, which are essentially the center of the Google+ user experience. Google’s version of the Facebook Wall, if you will.
These are sprinkled all throughout search results now, and that includes on Google News.
Earlier this year, Google’s Othar Hansson said in a video, “It’s obviously early days, so we hope to use this information and any information as a ranking signal at Google. In this case, we want to get information on credibility of authors from all kinds of sources, and eventually use it in ranking. We’re only experimenting with that now. Who knows where it will go?”
That was in early August.
If you’re not already implementing authorship markup, it might be a good time to start considering it. For more about it and how to use it, check out this set of articles.