Google drops authorship photos from search results!

Google’s John Mueller, webmaster analyst announced a major change in Google authorship photographs in search results. They said they are removing all author photos and Google+ view counts from search results. Explaining the purpose behind this move, he went on to say that to provide a better and neat visual appearance of search results on desktop, mobile or any other devices, Google has come up with this concept. All in all, to make things simpler for user, Google has made search results less cluttered. In today’s time, people’s primary way to access the web is via mobile; therefore, Google has laid emphasis on mobile first strategy. It is creating versions that focus on smartphones more than on desktops. Google drops authorship photos Therefore, it has two separate versions of a site- one for desktop, and the other for the mobile, which favors unifying of search result design. Talking about CTR (click-through rate), when photos were along the search results, there was a significant boost in click-through rate (CTR) for those results. This is because of the fact that people’s eyes use to get drawn to results that contained a photo, even if those results were down the search page. Eye tracking studies have also showed that surprisingly these results had a higher likelihood of getting clicked, which of course impacted the search engine results. In fact, results that had author photos noticed 30% to 150% of CTR increase. Take a look at few other possible reasonings behind this action:
  • An aggregate data for all authorship results is taken out, instead of taking out the results for only those authorship profiles that were getting high CTR.
  • Mueller says that CTR not only refers to authorship results. Probably they have evaluated it based on the combined results of two authorship design versions, not just on the basis of authorship. Therefore, there was no significant effect on search behavior between the two designs.
  • Another possibility he explains that CRT for authorship results on mobile is comparatively less than desktop because photos are not clearly visible on the mobile as they look on desktop.
  • Lastly, their CTR evaluation is not just based on authorship snippets exclusively, but rather on all the results of rich snippets.
Later, when Google announced the changes in authorship design, Mueller said that these above stated points were driven by UI considerations and they are trying to make search results better, particularly on mobile. However, this does not mean that future of Google Authorship is over. Content creators can continue with their authorship, despite of the fact that if the photo and Google+ circle count is no longer showed in search results. Creators can still maintain a connection between their Google+ profiles and their content placed anywhere on the web. All in all, authorship with their face photo next to search results is gone but it still has its advantages.

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