Google is staying true to its course, and updated Authorship ranking signals to keep publishers from getting ahead by making basic changes to their sites. Author rich snippets were the latest target, and brands are no longer guaranteed stronger SERP presences when adding schema markup to their digital content, reported Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz. Schwartz said Google’s Search Engineer Matt Cutts confirmed fewer Authorship rich snippets are making it into results, and moving forward, this feature will be reserved for highly authoritative publishers.
The search engine reduced Authorship rich snippets 15 percent, and low-quality sites are the intended targets of this change. When Google originally introduced Authorship signal, it became easier for internet users to identify web content written by highly credible individuals, improving overall transparency. However, any site that connected published articles with author’s Google+ profiles could reap the benefits: a clickable byline and photo in SERPs.
Now the search engine aims to reserve this SEO benefit for publishers who are industry authorities, and only content writers deemed credible will get images next to their content.
To secure a spot in this upper-echelon of content producers, writers must be in the right social circles (on Google+). Google looks to social signals on the network to identify industry leaders, and individuals who are in more circles and the circles of influential members are considered authorities. This two-pronged system is meant to weed out celebrity sway, sussing out individuals who have massive followings (the Justin Biebers) from those who are trusted figures in technology, politics, news, etc. (the Katie Courics).
Marketers who want to hold onto their Authorship rich snippets in SERPs must take the time to build industry influence on Google+, and other social networks for that matter. The message is the same as it’s always been: Search presence isn’t something that brands can achieve overnight. They need to put strategies in motion that build momentum and generate results over time.
To learn more about the benefits of Authorship, download Brafton’s free resource.