March 22, 2014

What happened to my rich snippet ?

Google+ Authorship and WordPress SEO plugin – An Important update

In past few weeks I’ve had a number of inquiries, from clients and people who have been reading my blog and/or those who have read my eBook, in regards to Google Authorship the rich snippet. Their one concern has been that search results were no longer showing their Google+ photo, leaving them to ask, “What have I done wrong?”

What happened to my rich snippet ?

This article will shed light on a few different topics, which relate to recent changes on Google’s side of things, as well as changes to the WordPress SEO plugin, and how it now handles Google+ Authorship ability. While this article does not offer a solution to the above mentioned concern, it will help you understand what has happened.

If you set up your Google+ Authorship before December of 2013, you may have experienced times when your picture was no longer appearing in the search results on Google, and then mid-December it disappeared completely.

This change is likely related to “changes in Google’s authorship algorithm,” which occurred around mid-December of last year. As a result of these changes, Google reduced “authorship rich snippets” in their search results by approximately 15%.

In his article titled, “Google’s December Authorship Shake-up,” Dr.  Peter J. Meyers, a Marketing Scientist at The Moz Blog, analyzed the details of the new changes, which occurred last December when Google rolled out their new authorship algorithm. While the article provides advice, in regards to what you website owners should do, I believe you should be made aware of an important point, previously overlooked by many WordPress website owners.

Google+ Authorship should only be used on blog posts and individually authored content on your website, and not on home pages, product pages, informational pages, contact pages etc. (See the article titled, “Google Plus Authorship: One Critical Thing You Need to Know,” published on The Moz Blog in January of this year.)

For the users of the WordPress SEO plugin

If you are a user of the popular WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, and if you have followed the instructions in my eBook, you may have broken this rule without realizing it. This is due to the fact that until recently, the WordPress SEO plugin provided a user interface, which allowed website owners to add authorship to their home page.

The good news is that the latest version of the plugin, removes the ability for website owners to setup authorship for their website’s homepage. All you need to do is update the plugin, and the authorship will no longer be enabled for your homepage.

Michelle Castillo

Online Business Expert and WordPress Consultant, passionate about helping business owners to benefit from today’s online technology. I provide my clients with hype-free concise advice about the reality of what online success requires.

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