Google cuts author icons

What does this mean for your content strategy?

If you’re a prolific blogger, savvy small business marketer or switched on brand, it’s possible you have enjoyed some of the benefits associated with Google Authorship:

  • The chance to establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Enhanced search results with author profile
  • Opportunity to create a name around your own brand
  • Increased space in the SERPS
  • More prominent indexing and better CTS from search results
  • A new strategy for increasing Google + shares and follows

If your business or brand is one of the ones to embrace Google Authorship, the news that Google is abolishing author icons is likely a bit of a blow. Since being introduced, Authorship icons have served as a huge incentive for content creators to put finger to keyboard and share their insights. Many industry analysts saw this as a ploy on part of the search engine to bump up its Google Plus membership with a profile being a pre-requisite for Authorship.

While industry insiders, bloggers and tech fans were quick to snap up this deal, others embraced the feature slowly. Perhaps in light of this, Google has announced that it will no longer offer authorship icons. This is likely due to one of two reasons; either Google has achieved the desired level of users for Plus, or they have abandoned the initiative after a lukewarm reaction. Whatever the reason, those who enjoyed a more prominent search engine presence and click throughs from Authorship markup are now faced with something of a problem.

If your CTR starts to drop and traffic from content marked with the Authorship rich snippet starts to drop (as is expected) what can you do? Try these:

  1. Explore the other rich snippet markups that Google has available. This allows you to classify your content and tag information with structured content markup for  reviews, events, restaurants, local businesses and similar.
  2. Work on driving traffic to your site from other sources such as social media. The greater the social media engagement, the better the chances of picking up traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Develop strategies that encourage people to retweet, like and share to capture attention and awaken interest.
  3. If your site has experienced a drop in traffic due to the loss of Authorship icons, you’ll need to cultivate other referrals. This means you’ll want to embark on a link building campaign so you can tap into other web site’s traffic and siphon some of it off for your own page.
  4. The internet is built on great content – information that informs, educates, entertains and answers questions. Don’t be put off content creation by the loss of icons in the SERPS. Your aim with content should always be to connect with customers and potential customers so it’s essential to continue to publish articles and blog posts that will resonate with those likely to buy from you.

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