Google makes a decision that impacts Content Marketers across the board.
On June 25th, John Mueller announced that they would be “simplifying the way authorship is shown on mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.”
Up until now, connecting the appropriate profiles in order to set up Google Authorship has been a must for content writers with the possibility of increased click-through-rates and even a boost in page spots in search results. But now, things have changed a little bit, and here is how.
John Mueller’s announcement means that MOST photos in Google searches are being removed from search results. Prior to this change, you might get your picture posted next to your search result, as well as your Google+ circle count, but this will be no more.
Reason for the Change:
In the Mr. Mueller’s release, he expresses the desire to clean up the visual design of search results, particularly on mobile devices. He also notes that the did not think that click-through-rates would change ver much after this change.
The desire to clean up the general look of search results is understandable, and yet it always seemed like having those Google Authorship images accompanying your content was such a great boost that set you apart. Being willing to do the legwork to set up Google Authorship had a solid level of payoff.
This feeling of security was hard to prove and measure, but many Digital Marketers were less than thrilled about the change, but we will have to wait and see how it plays out.
What is the Same?
Google Authorship Still Exists
“Google Authorship Continues. Qualifying authors will still get a byline on search results, so Google hasn’t abandoned it.” – Mark Traphagen
Like Mark pointed out, Google Authorship is still going to continue to exist, and there is still a benefit to having it set up for those who qualify.
Author’s Name Still Shows Up in Search Results
One of the best parts about Google Authorship was that the author’s name shows up in the results, and this is not changing. So that’s good. And the those who click on your name are sent to your Google+ profile.
Current Rankings Aren’t Changing
If you currently have posts that are ranking, you won’t lose your spot. Now, we still don’t have any control over the Click-through-rate of your search result (so it looks like article titles can help or kill) but you’re safe for now.
Sooo… is Google Authorship Still Worthwhile?
On one hand, Google wants the best results to show up when people conduct searches, and they are pretty good at doing it. They want to continue to bring the best results to the top of searches, and so they will reward content creators who do just that.
On the other hand, getting to show a picture was one of the big things that drew people to Google Authorship. It just felt good, and now Google has eliminated this perk. So the reality is that there will probably be fewer people pursuing Authorship in the future.
With that said, there are still major benefits to verify authorship. There are still bylines that are visible, and Google wants good authors to be found and read and verifying authorship is a great way to pursue this.
So I would highly recommend that you verify authorship. Even thought it isn’t the same as it was, it will only benefit your content, your brand, and your company.