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Google Authorship Discontinued – What Now?

On 29 August 2014 Switzerland based John Muller (Google Webmaster Trends Analyst) announced the end of Google Authorship. Since then all photos and references to Google+ profiles have been completely dropped from Google Search listings. When explaining the reason for this change John says that the decision was founded on feedback from webmasters, authors and users who said that the platform was becoming too much of a distraction when finding search results.

So, why is this a big deal and how does it affect your business? Google Authorship was a great tool for marketers as it allowed businesses to build credibility and engagement with users. By having a profile image assigned to your Google+ profile your search result stood out and increased your reach in terms of search placement. This meant that if you had authorship on your result and were in position 4 whilst as relevant as search results 1-3, you were more likely to have your result noticed over the preceding if they did not have the extra markup.

Over the past few years there have been numerous blogs and credible sources that have written that “Google Authorship was here to stay and would never go anywhere”. The lesson to be learnt here is that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is always evolving and the only constant is really the value offered to the end-user as this is Google’s number one priority.

So what now? How can you get the same or similar results to those achieved with Google Authorship over the past 3 years?

1) Go back to basics and think of customer psychology and the user behaviour of individuals using the queries you are targeting. Relate everything from aesthetics to functionality to workflow back to the end-user when making any decisions.

2) Write straight forward but “advertising worthy” meta descriptions for your landing page(s) that are associated with targeted keywords and always remain aligned with the guidelines of Google’s best practice for SEO.

3) Use tools like Structured Data Markup and Rich Snippets where appropriate in order to add value to end-users, not in reaction to trends in the market.

These are just three examples of how you can stand out from the competition without Google Authorship as well as future-proof yourself against future changes. For more advice on building a solid, genuine SEO strategy call one of our experts on 1300 859 600.