Well, that was out of the blue! The search engine giant has announced plans to remove authorship photos and the Google+ circle counts from search results on both desktop and mobile.
We talked about these in detail and just how effective these are a little while back.
Basically, you will still have your name in search results, and that name will be linked to your Google+ account. The only things that will be hidden from now on is your photo and social following — which, quite honestly, were the main reasons why so many people set this up in the first place.
However, folks that make it into the Google News search results, will still have a tiny photo that will appear next to the large image of the publication’s logo. Like so:
Google’s John Mueller made the announcement, saying:
“We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices.
As a part of this, 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.)”
Thing is, it isn’t.
As this report from Justin Briggs, senior marketing manager at Getty Images reveals, Google Authorship does affect clickthrough rates positively. Users are actually drawn to results that are below the fold, which is not the case when profile photos are not set up.
This news is still fresh, and search results still show pictures and social follows, meaning the search engine giant is yet to implement.
But ultimately, this is a move that will not only affect clickthrough rates and the amount of traffic websites that had Google Authorship set up, it is bound to affect, the Google+ social network in one capacity or another.
What are your thoughts on this? Is Google getting rid of a good thing? And does it matter?