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Google dropping profile images from Authorship Results

     
12:00 am on Jun 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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John Mueller of Google announced today that Google is dropping the display of profile images and circle count from its search results. The reason given is improving the visual display on mobile results and maintaining "a more consistent design across devices"....

John Mueller - Google+ - June 25, 2014
[plus.google.com...]
...we're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)

For more information on using authorship on pages of your website, check out
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1408986 [support.google.com]

Thanks to Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land [searchengineland.com] for the heads up on this.
9:50 pm on June 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Gone

Now the ads really stand out.

The little orange AD box catches your eye no more pesky profile pictures to draw clicks away form ads.

Someone in the Google front office is going to get a juicy bonus.
10:16 pm on June 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mark Traphagen (who occasionally posts here) made a couple of interesting observations on Google+ about the notion that author photos were dumped to encourage ad clicks:

authorship snippets were far less common on the transactional queries where people were most likely to click ads.

Second, users eye tracking studies I've seen indicate that once a user goes into the organic results, they tend to stay there (unless there is nothing in the organics that meets their need).
5:06 am on June 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@not2easy @Robert Charlton @netmeg Thanks for the links, some good reading... a little disappointed that there wasn't more discussion in the comments after the SEO by the Sea breakdown.
2:30 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mark Traphagen (who occasionally posts here) made a couple of interesting observations on Google+ about the notion that author photos were dumped to encourage ad clicks:


Although it's already noticeable that my non-authored organic results, previously swimming against a tide of results featuring pictures of attractive and probably totally irrelevant women, are benefiting from extra clicks now aswell. No complaints here: a great move by G.
2:42 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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As I mentioned in the June SERPs watching post, I only very rarely had an authorship image showup (I use a cartoon) but all of a sudden my name started showing up in the byline spot for stuff I don't use bylines (events). It showed up just when the images went away for everyone else, so I have to think it's somehow related.
4:32 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The idea that Google removed author profile pix because it drew clicks away from ads is not supported by the facts. ;)


interesting! martinibuster, did this increase in revenue come without an increase in traffic to google? and increase in revenue does not qualify as a fact because google had made several changes to ways ads are displayed that includes blurring of the distinction between ads and search results. AFAIK, normal search users (who account for a great percentage) do not know the distinction between the top ads and the organic search results these days...
4:37 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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and it was not long ago when I heard people going gaga about author images being displayed on SERPS and how it improved transparency, expert identification, click throughs etc. and now I read justifications of how they are not so useful, hence removing them doesn't affect anyone! WoW! This is becoming more like a stock market where analysts readily have the right reasons to justify every move...
4:46 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I also feel the need to be less reliant on Google products, including google +, which I've never really "got". The less of their stuff I use, the better. I trust Google about as much as I trust the government.

My sentiments exactly.
5:59 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I really don't see any difference in CTR from before. All my posts had an author picture and now they don't. Visits don't differ much. If anything, it's better than before.... :)

So while I didn't think that it was a good idea in the beginning, I really don't see any downside at this point.
8:41 pm on July 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Same here no difference in CTR without picture and just about all articles had profile pic showing.

So that means Big G is not getting more clicks on ads, they might even put them back now :)
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