Google Removes Webmaster Tools Author Stats Reports

Google Author Stats GoneStarting last December Google Webmaster Tools included a “labs” prototype feature that displayed rudimentary analytics for any indexed results on the web that were connected to your Google verified authorship (content tied to you Google+ profile using any of these methods.

Being aware of how your author-identity-related content was performing was gaining importance as the buzz increases about Google’s Author Rank system which (if it is not already) will very likely soon be affecting how Google ranks search results. (See also “The SEO Power of Google+ Plus Google Author Rank.”)

This past week, however, Google Webmaster Tools underwent a few organizational changes, and Labs (along with the Author Stats report) disappeared.

When Google removes a Labs project, it is for one of two reasons: the project has outlived its usefulness, or it is about to go mainstream.

Since it is unlikely that Google is backing away from its Author Rank project, perhaps we will soon see new and vastly improved analytics for it, perhaps even incorporated directly into Google Analytics. Google appears to be doing everything it can to encourage use of authorship markup to connect content-producers with a Google+ identity. The first incentive was the author rich snippets that started appearing for authors using the system. Detailed analytics on how one’s authored content is performing in search results would be another huge boost to the program.

UPDATE: Barry Schwartz, in his post about this issue, just shared the following information straight from a Google employee:

Google’s Pierre Far responded to me on Google+ about this issue saying it was removed. He said:

We’ve currently disabled the experimental Author stats feature in Webmaster Tools Labs as we work to fix a bug in the way stats are attributed.

Google Author Rich Snippet Search Result

Google Author Rich Snippet Search Result

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Comments


  1. I have a feeling it’s gone for good. Google will most likely add it to the ranking algorithm (if they haven’t already) and having those stats will make it too easy to game the system. It’s another step toward making good content rise to the top.

    Reply

  2. @Seo Manager – see the update to the post. Google has now said that it was removed temporarily to fix a bug, and it will be back. I differ with you in that I think they doe want us to see these stats. They serve as an encouragement to link your content to your Google+ profile (which Google very much wants all authors to do). Doing well in Author Rank is not as easily gamed as link building. You have to actually have good content that a wide diversity of people “vote” for by resharing it, +1ing it, etc.

    Reply

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