No Attorney Headshot? Don’t Give Up on Google Authorship

Last month I wrote about Google reducing the instances of people’s photos appearing in their search results. Now it seems the photos are gone for good. Google’s reason is they want a less cluttered and more consistent display across mobile and desktop devices.

In other words, this:

Becomes this:

It’s another change to Google Authorship, the search engine’s way to connect and build your content (i.e. legal blog posts and articles published on other websites) into a credible network that is relevant to readers. For attorneys, think of it as your entire body of legal work – publications, cases, certifications, etc. – joined together, showing the depth of your expertise in an easily accessible format.

Some people might jump to the conclusion that, without photos in the search results, attorneys should limit the attention they give to Google Authorship. It’s a common belief that a photo can increase click-through rates (which can lead to more traffic to your website). But even without the image, Google Authorship still serves a valuable purpose in helping law firms be found online.

Connections Count More Than Ever
Google Authorship creates connections between your law firm’s website, your content and your social media accounts. These connections can also be useful as something called “semantic search” becomes a more important part of Google’s algorithm. Semantic search is based on search engines understanding the relationships between people and organizations. Having a robust Google Plus profile and connecting it to your firm’s website can help make your web presence easier for Google to understand.

The more you help search engines understand what your firm is and what it does, the more you help them assign authority, quality and relevance to your firm’s website.

A Sign that Authorship is Becoming More Important
An authority in Google Authorship, Mark Traphagen, suggests this change might be a cue that Authorship will become even more important. The evolution of changes in this feature seem to point to more and more filtering, so only authors who meet certain quality and authority standards will benefit from it.

Here’s how Mark describes it:

“With this latest development, I think Google may be saying, in essence, ‘Thanks for playing, everyone. We are now going to reward the winners.’”

Translation for attorneys: the better and more connected your content is through authorship, the better your chances are of being found. It’s evolving for sure, but Google Authorship is still a powerful marketing tool for attorneys.

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