Google Authorship is officially….. DEAD as we know it.
In a (totally not surprising) move, Google dumped authorship photo from organic desktop and mobile listings and from now on will not be showing profile pictures as part of search engine snippets.
Google Authorship pictures were completely removed from the search results in the UK at 12:00 AM Saturday 28 June 2014.
The cynical amongst us might think that having big eye-catching photos in what’s meant to be dull, drab ORGANIC search results was never going to last. The most cynical would probably imagine that all the eye catching fancy stuff will eventually find it’s way…. over to the sponsored listings of search results.
Shame though – it was nice to see your pic on Google.
The announcement was made today:
‘Authorship will still be important to Google as it tightens it’s grip on web publishers, but a big obvious incentive of actually having authorship (for the uninitiated) seems to have gone completely.
SEOs expect Authorship in some shape or form to be impactful in Google ranking (it is already used in In-depth Articles from what we’ve been told) and so the recommendation still is to configure Google Authorship and feed the Google beast to ensure you get whatever benefit there is, while there’s a benefit.
Maybe my take IS too cynical.
Here’s another view:
And that’s why this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me. Google has been telling us (and signalling by much of what they’ve done) that the game for the future of search is now to be won or lost on the mobile playing field. But with the addition of a street band’s worth of bells and whistles on the SERPs these past few years, they had set themselves up for a very wobbly and inconsistent search experience. In short, mobile users want things simple and clean.
A reasonable premise, but doesn’t quite justify pics not appearing on desktop pcs, for me. The desktop Google will always look different.
I liked authorship pics, and see losing the pic and circle count as a loss, but like most things in Google – use is subject to change – and Google likes to change things just when we get used to them.
There was a lot of what could be seen as testing over the last few months – with many – including myself – noticing the randomness with which Authorship triggered on some searches. Perhaps it was related to that click thru comment from John Mu.
I don’t like Google bashing that much – too many people already do it. Everybody always thinks Google is always involved in a Machiavellian manoeuvre to control the world and everything they do is to that end. I’ve seen various Googlers actually delivering in some areas recently – but you never hear too much about that.
Saying that – there are some interesting takes on this news already, meaning this is a story that will probably grow legs:
I am frustrated @JohnMu saying that it will not cost CTR. Either Google lied about the increase in CTR with photos, or they’re lying now.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) June 25, 2014
A 2012 study published by Google offers a slightly different view:
Based on past research on social information seeking, we have certain intuitions about how users should behave around social annotations: they should ﬁnd them broadly useful, and they should notice them. Our results indicate that, in reality, users behave in a more nuanced way.”
“The more counterintuitive result from our ﬁrst study was that subjects did not notice social annotations. From our second experiment, we were able to conclude that this unawareness was mainly due to specialized attention patterns that users exhibit while processing search pages.
Users deconstruct the search results: they pay attention to titles and URLs and then turn toward snippets and annotations for further evidence of a good result to click on. Moreover, the reading of snippets and annotations appears to follow a traditional top-to-bottom reading order, and friend pictures that are too small simply blend into snippets and become part of them. These focused attention behaviors seem to derive from the task-oriented mindset of users during search, and might be explained by the effect of inattentional blindness . All of this makes existing social annotations slip by, unnoticed.”
It’s funny actually. Google doesn’t now want to put our faces on our own website listings any more – but if we are lucky – others might see our mugs on shared endorsements in ads for other people. :)
How Google Authorship Worked
Google is piloting the display of author information in search results to help users discover great content. Google.
This did help draw attention to your search listing in Google, and anecdotal evidence suggested a increase in click-through rate for your listing. Google Authorship was expected to be a BIG ranking factor and marking up your page in this manner was relatively straightforward. Not straightforward enough to warrant mass take up though.
Who the actual author of a an article is might very well STILL impact rankings in a positive way – but highlighting the author in this manner is now redundant.
NO More Getting Your Picture in Google Organic SERPS?
Getting your face on Google organic outside of private networks like Google Plus or other social networks Google has a partnership is kind of over (at the moment). You could probably still get it in via Google images, or Google news.
I think the first time you could really do that with any guaranteed results (apart from Google images of course) was by manipulating Google News…..
- Pure Vanity
At the time I wrote:
I’ve been playing about with Google news seeing as most “seo news” pulled in there is absolute low grade bollocks. If you’re running a site, Google News syndication is certainly something to mess about with.
Sometimes it seems that not much has changed since I wrote that….. but I digress.
About the same time (circa 2009) Google went all social with a new service called Google Profiles. This meant when you “Google Me“, for instance, as I already have a profile set up, a picture of me features in the actual SERPS. At first it’s a vanity thing, but Google’s really getting in on the act of actual finding and giving you more user friendly information on people now possibly with an eye on the success Facebook was having.
It used to be the reserve of famous people, social networkers and people with websites, but now anybody can have a crack at featuring at page one in Google for their name, for instance.
Search for ‘Shaun Anderson’ for instance when logged into my Google Account and my picture used to appear at the bottom of the SERPS.
It is working at the moment in the UK SERPS as the screenshot above shows. From a test I did, it’s clear Google is reading the whole page when coming to ranking the Google Profile so better get it optimised fully.
The page itself DOES rank for your name, and DOES pass some anchor text value in the test I did too, although that’s before I changed the vanity URL (or it might not now). Google encourages you to, for instance, add your other social network profiles (probably to see who to buy next lol). Don’t be stupid and spam it of course!
I don’t think much of the vanity URL but I was lucky to have a gmail account near the beginning so my Vanity URL (which is tied to your Google Account) is www.google.com/profiles/anderson.shaun
It’s been connected to my Google Account for a while, so your actual profile page could still be one of the organic listings as well as this new feature, but Google just announced they will be making more of Google Profiles in the future.
Hey, it’s another way for people to find you. And it’s free. And it gets your face on Google. And it’s another low quality link as well, for now anyways.
Google Profiles is now officially Google Plus, if you didn’t know.