The above is a screen capture of my Google Authorship stats. As you can see, they’ve nose-dived. Suddenly I’m getting almost no impressions and, as of the last few days, zero clicks.
Except (thank god) this isn’t actually true. One of the sites which I work for provides author states, and they reporting as they had before. Yet the stats I can view are screwed – and why? Beats me. And I’ll almost certainly never hear of a solution from Google.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a problem with Authorship. Early last year my photo mysteriously disappeared from my Google results. Photos have since been removed from Authorship (along with the +1 ranking), but at the time it was a big deal. My impressions went down by over half.
Eventually I fixed the problem by switching my portrait, on the hunch that Google’s face detection algorithm had decided my face was not really a face at all. This seemed to resolve the issue, no thanks to Google; I tried reaching out on their support forums, the only way to contact the company at all, and received not a single reply.
And then there’s Search itself. As an author, everything I write is subject to the whims of Google Search. Both the sites I work for were hit hard in last month’s SEO update, meaning my work receives less attention. Now, you might argue I’m doing something wrong, or the websites were doing something wrong, but any such argument would certainly be vague because Google, once gain, provides no support.
Search results dropping like a stone? Tough luck, chump. You’ve no choice but to guess what Google’s thinking. Let me tell you, I’m glad I don’t actually run or own a site; knowing the whims of a few SEO gurus at Google could tank my business would keep me up at night.
Google claims it tries to do no evil. But even if you buy that claim (in which case I’ve got a bridge to sell you), it’s not enough. Google as a company has become so dominate that it can literally ruin lives. A business goes out of business because Google lists the wrong hours, and won’t correct it; a webmaster sees her traffic evaporate overnight for reasons that will never be disclosed; a Muslim-American has to wonder if his Gmail account is being shared with the NSA.
With such responsibility, Google can’t just “do no evil.” It must actively strive to do good. Yet, for the most part, the company seems blissfully unaware that its actions actually impact people. The management at Google sees everything as an algorithm.
But algorithms don’t run the world. Nor, for that matter, do they buy and use products. Google’s reputation seems to earn new stains each year, and has become so bad that the company can’t host conferences without interruption from protesters. People are pissed off. And they should be.
So listen up, Google. People matter. If you can’t accept that, and act on it, then you’re no better than McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, or any other mega-corporation you try so desperately to separate yourself from.