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Authorship Dropped from Google Search Results

authorshipWebmaster trends analyst John Mueller announced in an August 28 Google+ post that Google search results will no longer display page authorship, also known as rel=author markup.

Mueller stated that Google tests found that taking authorship away did not reduce traffic to websites or increase clicks on ads.

Regarding the display of authorship information, Mueller wrote, “Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results.”

Google Authorship was implemented in 2011. The goal of authorship markup was to was to connect pieces of content to author profiles on Google+. The schema.org standards, which are still used in rich snippets, were used for this and other aspects of structured markup.

The end of authorship follows two recent reductions in authorship in recent months. Last December, Google decreased the number of author photos shown per query. In June, Google removed all author photos, (more…)

Google Pigeon to reshape local listings

Google layoutOn July 24, Google released a new algorithm, nicknamed Pigeon by Search Engine Land (SEL), which alters the way local search results are generated in Google Maps and Google Web. The Pigeon update is designed to make the local search results more accurate and relevant.

Google told SEL that the new algorithm relies more heavily on their hundreds of traditional web search ranking signals. It also draws on features like spelling correction, synonyms and Knowledge Graph. This change will make local search results align more closely with organic search rankings.
The algorithm is also designed to improve distance and location ranking parameters.

Currently, the algorithm affects only U.S. English results. Google has not confirmed whether or not Penguin will be introduced in other countries or languages.

The Pigeon algorithm is still new, and it will take some time to get a feel for its full implications, especially since it’s possible that Google is still smoothing (more…)

Where did the map go?

mobile search for lawyersGoogle released an update to its local search engine algorithm, dubbed the Pigeon update by Search Engine Land (SEL). The update was complex, including a number of changes designed to improve the relevancy and accuracy of local search results.

The biggest impact of Google’s Pigeon algorithm update has been seen in the local “7-pack” results, the groups of two to seven pinned, local results that appear on some local queries. It has also impacted Carousel, the scrolling list of local establishments that appears with some searches.

Since the implementation of Pigeon on July 24, the number of search queries that produce local 7-pack results has decreased significantly. According to a recent Moz report, local 7-pack results have decreased by 23.4% since the update. It should be noted that while the cumulative effect was a decrease, certain query results have actually gained pack results.

Among the terms that have lost pack results are (more…)

Google Author Removes Your Picture, Retains Author Credit

profile picturesThose photos of you and your staff that once displayed next to your search engine listings has been removed. Google has removed everyone’s pictures with the author still retaining credit for their work, although some author photos may still appear on Google+ based on relevancy and level of interaction with others.

This move caught many lawyers by surprise as no one foresaw Google completely removing pictures from their Google Authorship program. There had been indications prior to the June 2014 announcement that Google was revisiting their position on author photos and how they affected content quality. At one time, author photos appeared in approximately 21 percent of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This change has dramatically affected the visual impact on SERPs but there is no data to suggest it has reduced click-through-rates.

When Google Authorship was first introduced in 2011, the intention was to “highlight authors and rank search results.” Over (more…)

On Google Plus You Can Now Be Anyone You Like

email subjectThree years ago, Google launched Google+, but along with the new network came a myriad of tough rules, one of which earned them backlash. You could only use a real name to become a part of Google+ based on the reasoning that members who chose to join the community should be real people. While it did create a community of authentic people, it also acted as a barrier to others who wanted to be involved, but not use their real names.

There were smaller changes made as Google+ aged, but nothing that allowed those in the wings to participate in the way that they wanted to become involved. With those incremental changes came more confusion: it was not clear what names would be allowed and which were not.

Last month, Google changed their policy, acknowledging they had not been clear, which in turn created difficulties for some of their users. It is always (more…)

Google Places is now Google My Business: Why that matters to your law firm

AndroidAs you may have heard, Google Places is now Google My Business. Billed as a versatile tool for small businesses, My Business is a repository for a large number of other Google services.

In short, it simplifies the communications components of marketing your law firm. Your firm no longer needs to go back and forth from one website to another to manage its business.

With this change, Google is entering into direct competition with Facebook’s business services. With Google My Business, the search giant hopes to get more businesses using their products. Google My Business isn’t anything new, its more of a suite consisting of existing or upgraded Google services.

What’s included:

  • Hangouts – Video chat with customers.
  • Reviews – Rate businesses according to their reviews.
  • Google Analytics – See your law firm’s website statistics immediately.
  • Maps – Manage your law firm’s location and information, and respond as owner on Maps on mobile.
  • Insights – Determine market trends, (more…)

Tips for promoting your law firm’s Twitter account

Last week we talked about staying compliant with Twitter’s logo guidelines. Here is a quick guide to getting more followers to your firm’s Twitter profile while correctly using Twitter’s imagery.

  • Use one of the Twitter buttons to link your site and postings to your online account.
  • Use one of the bird logos with your @username ( e.g. Harrellson Law) in print.
  • If you are not able to show the Twitter bird, type “Follow us on Twitter @username.”
  • Show the bird in front of your #hashtag or @ username in a size that matches the size of the typeface.
  • If you mention a tweet, include a direct reference to Twitter or display the brand or trademarks.
  • Make sure your brand still stands out. Don’t display Twitter logos or trademarks that are larger that your own marks.
  • Do not use Twitter terms or the Twitter name to refer to any other service. At best, misuse of the terms will confuse (more…)