This week, during the PubCon conference here in Las Vegas, Nevada, there was talk that Google Authorship could potentially make a comeback. As you might recall, back in June 2014, Google removed authorship photos from the search results. However, now, about 15 months later, Google’s Gary Illyes alluded to the fact that the rel=author tag could be used again by Google:
During one of my presentations this week at PubCon Las Vegas 2015, I specifically mentioned the fact that Google Authorship may come back in some sort of form after it being confirmed at SMX East that I attended last week. There was discussion that rel=author, the tag used for Google Authorship previously, could be used by Google again if more people used it on their websites.
This makes sense to me. Especially the way Gary worded his answer.
If there is a tag that a lot of websites are using, then Google will most likely use that tag in some way. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make a huge difference when it comes to search engine rankings, but if websites in general adopt something (like a tag, for example), I bet Google will use that data somehow.
It just so happens that the rel=author, previously used for Google Authorship, is used in this example when Gary Illyes talked about it last week. But, frankly it could be a rel=hartzer tag. If enough people adopt that rel=hartzer tag and use it on their websites, then it would be safe to say that Google would use it somehow.