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How Do Changes to Google+ Authorship Affect Your Search Results?

Keep your SEO strategy up to date with the latest Google+ authoritative changes, all the details are here.

As anyone who regularly uses the web knows, the ranking of your site in Google search results is incredibly important. For better or worse, Google has become the central portal which most people use to find what they need, so every change or update that Google makes that might affect search rankings is scrutinized and analyzed (for example, see the discussion of the recent “Hummingbird” algorithm update). The latest topic of discussion is Google+ authorship, which Google recently updated in a way that appears to have reduced the number of “rich snippets” that are included in search results. But what exactly does this mean, and how will it affect your own Google search rankings?

What is Google+ authorship?

Google+ is Google’s own social network, similar to Facebook, which users can use to share content with each other. As another channel for your marketing efforts, it’s a valuable resource, but one of the greatest benefits is that you can tie your Google+ profile to your blog posts, and when your content is displayed in search results, it can include what is called a “rich snippet”, including your profile photo and a link to your Google+ profile along with the link to your content. If you haven’t set up Google+ authorship, you can find some easy to follow instructions on how to do so here.

costerhout Rich Snippet

What has been changed, and how does it affect me?

In December 2013, Google confirmed that they had applied a 15% reduction in the amount of rich snippets displayed in search results. Analysts have confirmed this, with data showing that the display of rich snippets dropped significantly in mid-December. But what does this mean? Google says that this change was made in order to improve search quality, emphasizing “high-quality” authors in their search results. As ever, they want to provide the best results for people who are searching for information, so they only want to spotlight users that are known to be authoritative in their areas of expertise.

So what can you do to try to make sure your search results are improved by including rich snippets? As ever, you’re going to want to continue producing quality content that meets your visitors’ needs and that they will want to share with others. You also want to establish yourself as an authority and encourage people to link to your content; by doing so, you will become known as someone people trust as an expert in your subject, which means you will be more likely to be spotlighted with rich snippets in Google search results.

Have you noticed any changes in your search results recently, or do you have any tips for making sure your results include rich snippets? Let us know in the comments below!

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