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Google Reduces Rich Snippets for Writers & Brands

Google’s authorship program has been one of those quiet successes over the course of 2013.  Writers and authors who linked their content to their Google+ profile were able to build authority for themselves, and any sites that they wrote for, which also passed on some good SEO authority.  Like all good things, however, some of the black & gray hat SEOs looked to take advantage of it.  It was found that by simply adding content from a trusted author to a page (and linking it to the Google+ profile), it was possible to enjoy the SEO benefits, and rich snippets in the Google SERPs.

This caused many low quality sites to find and publish content from well known writers in their industry.  Google’s Matt Cutts has recently confirmed that they have made some adjustments to this program, which will largely eliminate this type of benefit.  As a result, up to 15% fewer of the rich snippets will be showing up in Google’s search results. 

In addition, they’ve adjusted the way authors can build trust with Google, resulting in fewer numbers of authors qualifying for their SERP snippets at all.  Authors will have to build a reputation by publishing high quality content, as always, but it will be even more important to get social recognition than ever before.  Being a part of the right ‘circles’ on Google+, for example, is now going to be extremely important for becoming recognized as an industry authority.

All of these changes are meant to help prevent sites and brands from being able to ‘flip a switch’ and become an instant authority in their industry (and enjoy the SEO benefits that comes with it).  Brands (as well as authors) will need to build a content strategy that will grow and develop over time.  This long term effort will hopefully help an author’s reputation, as well as the reputation of the sites he or she writes for.  In addition, this will help the readers of this author be able to count on high quality content on all the sites where they are published.

What do you think of this change?  Please, share your comments below.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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