Just recently, Google decided to remove the Google Plus photos from their Google Authorship feature.
This bit of news has been a shock to many – and the big question is why – why would Google kill a feature that is meant to help make our valuable content stand out?
Google authorship is a handy tool which add some unique information to your content when it pops up in search results, including your picture and the number of followers you have.
Since Google Authorship was implemented, we’ve seen a number of eye tracking studies which additional attention is given to search result articles which display the Google+ photo feature.
We’ve also seen a number countless articles of research that shows results saying that those with Google authorship photos have higher click through rates than those that don’t.
The fact that Google have decided to take this differentiating factor away from us has definitely stirred up mixed feelings amongst content creators.
Not only has Google announced that they will be removing profile photos, but they will also be removing the circle count from search results too.
Google is constantly changing the way they display their search results with the aim of becoming more and more indistinguishable from natural results.
The reason for this change is to create a more consistent look across all devices and create a simpler and less cluttered design. Google are trying to enhance their overall appearance of search results on mobile devices. In other words, picture and follower counts were cluttering up prime real estate on Google searches.
However they’ve said that the new layout won’t affect click through rates as the new layout will be similar to the SERPS (search engine results pages) that included author photos.
So Will Google Authorship Still Be Worth It?
Having an image show up in search results was certainly one of the most compelling reasons for using authorship. Now that the feature has gone, some may think fewer people will take the time to set it up – but should we abandon it?
The answer is no!
Your sign off line will still appear in search results and even though it won’t be as attention grabbing as your image, there is no downside to having your Google profile associated with your blogs and articles – it can still make a difference in your website traffic. Especially if you are an authority in a particular subject, then it’s still useful to have your name displayed in search results.
Also – it’s another way of letting Google know that you exist – and Google stresses the importance of businesses showcasing their authority on certain topics.
Although Google’s actions have created a great deal of debate online – despite the changes, it is still best for companies to keep creating quality content and making the most of the benefits that Google Authorship still provides to us.
What are your thoughts about the new changes? Leave comments below to tell us your thoughts or tweet us at @carvillcreative
This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.
If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.