In an effort to reduce the amount of authorship results, Google is beginning to rank them within itself.
Matt Cutts did mention this change in his keynote speech in Las Vegas in October, he said that when reducing the amount by 15% the quality was increased, although he didn’t go on to explain what ‘quality’ actually meant. This is all part of Google’s efforts to increase the quality of the authors that are shown by google and link good quality content to the right people.
Another change is the ‘class’ of author which is shown in Google results. This appears to be split by three with the first being the full standard authorship result which has the author’s photo, by-line and how many Google+ circles the author is in.
It is likely that the so called ‘first class’ authors are those who are:
- Well established
- People who regularly publish good quality content
- Sites with levels of high engagement on social media
Although, there are reports of some exceptions to that rule which Google will probably whittle down in time. One thing we can take solace in is that Google+ followers has no bearing on the ranking of your authorship as there are some authors who have a handful of followers and first class ranking. Another thing found to drop authorship ranking is linking your authorship to pages which violate the Google Authorship FAQ guidelines such as product pages.
One thing which is for sure is that your authorship ranking is affected by the quality of the site it is linked to. Posting for a reputable, good quality site is always going to advance your ranking.
These are all interesting developments for authorship and SERPs and they are continuing to change day by day. As always, Google is keeping plans under wraps but it won’t be long before we feel the full effects of these changes.