Google, by way of John Mueller, said yesterday it’ll be killing off the rich author snippet in search results. The author snippet, enabled by implementing rel=author tags on your content, gave you a rich search result showing your Google+ profile photo and circle count:
This snippet will now disappear, apparently because Google wants to “clean up the visual design of our search results”.
Since the entire SEO community has spent considerable amount of effort the last year or two to get clients to adopt rel=author precisely to get these rich snippets, I want to extend my sincere fuck you’s to Google for this move. Fuck you very much.
But we really shouldn’t be surprised. After all, despite abundant claims to the contrary, Google+ as a social sharing platform is, as TechCrunch put it, ‘walking dead‘. This author snippet removal is just another nail in Google+’s coffin.
Yet many SEOs continue to adhere to the view that Google+ is here to stay, despite all the writing on the wall. The thing is, the way these SEOs frame the debate, they’re right.
Because certain aspects of what the Google+ name stood for will definitely stick around. You see, Google+ is not just the social sharing platform – it’s what most of us think of when we say ‘Google+’, but it’s only a small part of the amalgamation of systems and services that Google smashed together to make the lovely fragrant potpourri that Google+ is.
After all, Google+ starts with having a Google account. If you have a Google account, any Google account on any of Google’s platforms, you are in effect a Google+ user.
And since Google accounts are most assuredly not going to disappear, these Google+ fanboy SEOs claim that Google+ is a massive success.
It doesn’t take a genius to spot the flaw in that argument, of course.
No matter how you twist it, Google+ as a social platform is a disaster. So when we talk about the ‘death of Google+‘, we mean the demise of that social platform. No amount of moving the goalposts is going to make that any less true.
But since SEOs hate to be proven wrong, the goalposts will continue to move, and Google+ will continue to be redefined and reshaped in the collective minds of the fanboys, so that they can claim they were right all along and Google+ is here to stay.
Because SEOs are never wrong, you see. Even when they are.