Content Marketing Blog

Author avatars appear in Google search results

The names and avatars of a select group of authors are now appearing next to their articles in Google search results.

For now, this tweak has only been applied to results and is limited to a small group of writers, such as Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land and Mashable's Ben Parr.

The plan though is to roll out this authorship feature across the board, as part of Google's attempt to improve the quality of search results.

The idea is that content from established writers with detailed bios that link to their previous work will be more likely to be of value to users.

"Many of you create great content on the web, and we work hard to make that content discoverable on Google," Google said in a post on its Inside Search Blog.

"Today, we will start highlighting the people creating this content in search results."

Google has been targeting thin, spammy content for some months now. It has rolled out a series of updates to its search algorithm and added a plug-in to its Chrome browser that allows users to block domains from their personalised results.

Pushing authorship is designed to help the algorithm and users identify high quality, useful content from the low grade articles that have traditionally flooded some search results.

The move should be welcomed by anyone investing in quality writing as part of their content strategy.

When it comes to improving search rankings, retention, links and conversion, sites need relevant and original content supported by solid on-page SEO.