Can Google Authorship Result in a Huge Traffic Decline?
Google Authorship is a set of tools designed to connect web content with the Google+ profile of the content creator. Authorship can help your search rankings, as it assigns "Author Ranking" to your content. One of the advantages of setting up Authorship is that it indexes writers in Google's search engine and matches them with their articles and blogs. Authorship is still in its infancy and now there are concerns about how it affects search and traffic results.
A web owner named Alex Yumashev of Jitbit.com using Authorship noticed sudden declines in his traffic, by as much as 90 percent. He received a vague notice from Google alerting him that traffic from Google can be affected by significant changes to a website. Yumashev claimed that he did not make any such changes, so he removed Authorship as a precaution. He theorized in a blog that Google Authorship favors blogs, news stories and press releases over product pages.
But Matt Cutts of Google responded in Hacker News that Authorship was not a factor in the site's sudden traffic decline, which was due to the Penguin algorithm that tagged the site for webspam. Online marketing guru Jim Rudnick, however, agrees with Measurable SEO President Chuck Price's assessment that Authorship does not always mix well with product pages. Price further discovered that a savvy software marketing client saw a sudden drop in their sales after setting up Authorship. Then they dropped Authorship and sales declined even more. Price does not link these declines directly with Authorship, other than website changes can affect how crawlers work.
An important objective for Authorship users is to become recognized by followers as an expert thought leader who produces high quality web content. By setting up Authorship through Google Webmaster Tools, your followers can access your Google+ profile when they search for your content. This solution for online authors also lets you research responses to your posts and easily find familiar users. So Authorship obviously has benefits to certain web owners, but it's not clear how helpful or harmful it is for online businesses that are selling products.