Content, Search Engine Optimisation

Google Removes Authorship Photos – What Now?

July 10, 2014

Google has announced big changes to the way Authorship shows up in search results. Under the changes, announced a couple of weeks ago, photos and circle counts will no longer appear. The move might have left you (and quite a few others!) scratching your head and wondering how the change will affect you and what you should do about it. In this post, we will take a look at Google’s reasoning behind the decision, and what you can do to help maintain your position on the web.

Why is Google removing photos from search?

One of the main reasons cited by Google is that they want to clean up SERP visual design so that it is less cluttered, and also more streamlined and consistent across multiple devices – especially mobile ones. This is because Google is of the view that mobile use will surpass that of desktop in the very near future, and photos can take up a lot of space on a small screen, creating a lot of unwanted clutter.

Is there more to it?

There is some speculation that some broader reasoning also applies. This includes the speculation that Google is in the process of refining Authorship – which basically is likely to involve providing a ranking boost to authors who have known credibility and authority in their subject areas, rather than rewarding Authorship per se.

In addition, with Authorship possibly being misused by some for SEO purposes, it is likely that Google may be cracking down on this practice, and making sure to reward the original authors of top content.

For example, in some cases where expert content has been plagiarised, the content thieves have even claimed ownership of the content through Authorship – resulting in a boost to their site above that of the original authors.

Fortunately it appears this problem is being dealt with by Google, indicating that they recognise that Authorship – like any SEO tool – is capable of being gamed by unscrupulous operators.

Another speculation is that Google is readying itself for the introduction of Author Rank – designed to promote quality authors and content. Defining Author Rank will be done using a number of contributing factors, such as the quality of backlinks to your site, reputation on social networks, PageRank and other signals.

What can you do about all this?

If you are currently in the process of building a great reputation through the provision of high-quality, expert content, and you have already set yourself up in Authorship and taken steps to protect your content, you really don’t need to do much at all. Just keep doing what you are doing already and you should be on the right track.

But if you’ve not yet taken advantage of Authorship, now might be the time – in spite of the fact that Google might not display your photo in search results.

This is because Authorship still provides many benefits, and while your photo and circle counts may not appear in results, your name will still be displayed as the content author along with your byline.

In any case, don’t abandon or disregard Authorship – it is still a good tool for establishing your identity as a quality content author on the web, and it may also provide you with good preparation for Author Rank.

Will this change affect click-through rates?

It has been generally considered that photos in search results tend to improve click-through rates (CTR), and site owners may be concerned that their CTRs may fall as a result of this change. However, it may also be the case that these higher CTRs may flatten out when data is taken as a whole – that is, across all search queries and across all types of devices. So to state categorically that CTRs will fall may not be accurate.

In any case, it is possible to track your CTRs to see if they are dropping. This can be done through Labs and Author Stats in Google Webmaster Tools.

So to sum up – while this change by Google may have come as a surprise, it might not be as bad as all that. As long as you maintain the quality and expertise of your content for your audience, it’s likely your position on the web will not be negatively affected.

Discover how we can help with SEO and Content

Enquire Now
By Bill Vasiliadis

By Bill Vasiliadis

Bill Vasiliadis is one of Australia’s leading digital marketers with over 23 years in the industry. With a Master of Digital Marketing degree and a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree, he has tremendous knowledge and experience.

Related Articles

View All Articles

“It has been a pleasure working with Bill and his team from SEO for Small Business Australia. The results from all his work have been truly amazing and in no time our business was on the first page of Google. I will continue to work with Bill and his team in the future and highly recommend him.”

Sherleen Chand, Criminal Lawyers Sydney

“We started using Bill last year and have been very happy with his service since. He is incredibly responsive and is generally available to answer the phone or an email when we need it. We have noticed improvements in several areas of our SEO and are keen to see what the next steps in our SEO strategy bring. We would definitely recommend engaging SEO for Small Business Australia Pty Ltd.”

Katie McGovern, Patricia Holdings

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Bill from SEO for Small Business Australia. The results have been amazing. We are kept up to date regularly with what’s going on and the customer service has been great. As a small business, it’s always a pleasure to work with another competent small business.”

Murray Roach, Billabong Spas

“Bill has been a great in getting our SEO set up and running for our meditation business.”

Mairead Ball, Bondi Meditation Centre

“If you are looking for SEO services for small business, this is definitely the one - knowledgeable, easy to work with and great value.”

Nancy Wang, RivetLab Pty Ltd

“I highly recommend Bill Vasiliadis and SEO for Small Business Australia – as a new business, the best decision we made was to engage Bill Vasiliadis.”

Ted Neaves, Shoalhaven Lawyers

“A very professional no-nonsense approach which we appreciated. Makes everything easy to understand and is very clear on the improvements he can deliver. ”

Andrw Harvey, The Optical Co

“After trusting in two other SEO companies over the last 5 years and getting horrible results, 5 months ago I started with Bill and the results have been great and we have only been doing business with him for a short time so I'm super confident that my business's future is going to be amazing. I highly recommend trusting Bill and his team.”

Robin Wickens, Sheepskin Tailors

“Great service with great results, highly recommend.”

Marnie Fawns, Tri to Swim

“Bill has been great to work with and has provided good results.”

Brian Scales, Glen Erin at Lancefield

“Bill has detailed knowledge of SEO, we are a demanding client that has some robust measurements on our ROI and Bill manages to find solutions and report back in line with our KPI's on a weekly basis.”

Graham Budinger, Signal Advantage

“Bill from SEO for Small Business Australia has been great. Easy to deal with, flexible with small business budgets, and already achieving great results.”

Lyn Fisher, Moss Furniture

“Extremely impressed with Bill and his team. The work they did was really in-depth & thorough. Within just a few days I was at the top of the second page of Google, and Bill has given me advice to further increase my rankings. I highly recommend them to anyone who needs SEO help.”

Jordy Fabian, Organised Simplicity

Check Out Our SEO Services

Read More >
Reviewing SEO Analysis

Get Your Free SEO Analysis

Read More >