For the past three years, Google has encouraged brands and website content creators to identify their work via the Google Authorship program. Google rewarded participation by offering Authorship participants ways to differentiate themselves among search engine results pages (SERPs), providing a photo and byline for searches related to your name AND your content topics. Although sweeping changes have been announced, marketers should not write off the Author Rank SEO opportunity that remains.
This week, Google announced an end to the Authorship experiment. This is likely a result of:
- Low adoption rates
- Minimal value to the searcher &
- Increased mobile searches lacking the SERP space for unnecessary rich media
What Is Disappearing?
- Authorship SERP displays: No more photo and byline linking directly to your content/website
- Tracking of authorship performance in Google Webmaster Tools
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed that verified authors’ content has a better chance of ranking than content without a verified author. Without a formal Authorship program, Google will likely rely on bylines and recognized authority (visits, links, likes and shares) associated with authors’ content. Article markup is also still being used to enhance the “In-depth articles” feature.
Google+ SERP Results
Recently, Google encouraged authors to demonstrate their value/reach by increasing engagement and reach in Google+. These efforts continue to benefit content creators and brands.
People and brands engaged on Google+ can still rank in SERPs for their post content and get enhanced listings in followers’ searches. Thus, Google+ engagement and content amplification still drive increased SEO opportunities among their followers/circles.
Brand name searches also continue to result in enhanced listings. For instance, a search for “Lowe’s” includes an expanded sidebar listing with a prompt to follow via Google+ and lists the brand’s most recent posts.
While the loss of Authorship as it existed marks a lost SEO opportunity, tactical efforts encouraged through the program still add value to digital marketing efforts.
Brands and influencers can still leverage Google+ for outreach and content amplification. Growing followers is beneficial beyond the G+ platform, because followers’ SERP results still display enhanced listings.
What should brands/influencers be doing in the post-Authorship era?
- Continue to include bylines and Article mark-up to content
- Engage via Google+ to increase followers
- Post content to Google+ (along with other owned social platforms)
- Encourage 3rd party contributors and influencers to share content via Google+
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For information about Resolution, visit our website: www.resolutionmedia.com.