Google’s John Mueller announced a significant change to Google Authorship yesterday. The Google+ announcement noted that Google will no longer display author profile images and Google+ circle counts on desktop and mobile searches.

The changes to Google Authorship display are expected to take place over the next few days, and are designed to create a better mobile search experience.

Google Authorship In Search

Google Authorship communicates to Google which articles are attributed to authors. Google authorship involves linking Google+ and author profile pages.  Prior to the announcement, authorship on Google generated author profile photos adjacent to author articles on Google searches.

This is what Google authorship has traditionally looked like on Google search:

Author profile photos on search humanize articles, and images are documented to increase click through’s. Google Authorship has documented SEO benefits which improve your visibility  in search.

Google Authorship Search Changes

Google’s authorship update removed author images for linked posts on search along with circle counts.

Here is an example of how updated Google authorship results will appear:

According to Mueller, Google’s change comes on the heels of extensive eye tracking tests which indicate click rates that are the same with and without Google authorship images. Mueller noted: “Experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.”

Google does not anticipate removing the photo effecting click through rates (CTRs) based on their test results. However, search experts such as  Danny Goodwin question Google’s claim. Search Engine Watch reported a 25% drop in click through rate when authorship images were removed.

More remains to be seen as to whether Google’s authorship update will affect click thru rates and SEO for authors, but experts are weighing in:

Google plus authorship in search

Google Authorship SEO Tips

Below are some pro tips on surviving the changing landscape: 

  • Include  strong article meta-descriptions with  accurate article descriptions.
  • Create a relevant, searchable title.
  • Maintain a high quality content strategy.

 

How do you think the Google Authorship changes will affect search and SEO?

 

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