Is it Still Worth it to Setup Google Authorship After the Removal of Authors Photos from Google SERP?

On July 28th, 2014 / No Comments »

Google gave, Google took away: authors’ photos have recently disappeared from the SERPs. Does this mean that the attribution of authorship to one’s web page no longer makes sense? Is it true that Google refuses to take into account Author Rank when ranking websites? Omnivision Design tries to answer these questions in this article.

Late in June, Google representative John Mueller said that the photos of authors would no longer be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). Google also stop showing the number of users in the circles of the author. Mueller explained that the intension was to improve the search engine experience of mobile users and unify the SERP appearance for users on multiple devices. He said that during the testing of new and old snippets, Google did not notice any changes relating to click-through-rate (CTR).
This does not correspond to the results of numerous independent researches.

The reaction on this innovation of search engine among marketers almost coincided with the description of 5 stages of grief by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

  • Anger: Google, how could you do this? Matt Cutts, why do you hate us?
  • Disconcerting: What to do now? Maybe innovation does not affect all authors?
  • Depression: No, my beautiful picture, how am I going to live if you do not appear in the snippet?
  • Aggression: Google is a root of evil. It shares all the data with security services. I’ll delete my account and will use other Search Engines like DuckDuckGo.
  • Prediction of the apocalypse: it is obvious that they are closing Google+! This social network has not become popular and will expire just like Google Buzz did!

However, marketers should control their emotions and rationally analyze all innovations.

What’s the main reason for removing author photos from the snippet?

It is believed that Google has removed authors’ photos from the SERPs, because they have increased the CTR of such links too much, when compared to standard search result listings. The law of conservation of energy works in Search Engine Marketing, as well as in other fields: If the CTR of one SERP listing increases, then the click-through-rate of other elements falls. Which ones? For example, Google Adwords blocks.

But the most likely guess, is that Google has made another step in the strategy towards the domination of mobile search. The search engine is really trying to improve the experience of mobile users, and unify SERP results, as John Mueller said bluntly.

Is it true that Google is burying authorship and even the Google+ social network?

No. You do not throw away an expensive smartphone, if the back cover is scratched. Google+ functions are not limited to authorship. Google does not consider this platform as a typical social network.

The world’s largest search engine is using Google+ as an integrator of a network personality. Search engines collect all available data about the user, when a user is watching a video on YouTube, sending emails in Gmail, and clicking the +1 button on third-party sites, etc.

Is it worth setting up an authorship even after author photos have been removed from SERPs?

Having a photo in a snippet is not the primary benefit of authorship. Pay attention to the following words of honor from Google engineer Matt Cutts:

“If an author typically writes high quality content, that author is more likely to be relevant to you.”

“We continue recommending that authors properly implement authorship to help users discover their content more easily in Search and other Google products. Continue focusing on creating great content that people want to read and share and the rest will follow.”

Yes, Google Authorship works even after the removal of photos from snippets. Authorship links articles posted on each website, with accounts of authoritative authors. It creates a rich snippet, even though it does not include the presentation of a visually appealing photo.

The future of authorship

Many experts believe that Google will eventually increase the role of Author Rank, in ranking sites. In this case, websites, collaborating with respected authors, will have an edge. The search engine may learn to identify authorship without any additional markup. Only in this case, will the use of Authorship become obsolete and unnecessary.

Deleting photos from SERPs makes links to websites less attractive in search. The CTR of snippets without photos will likely plummet. However, the main advantage of Google Authorship still exists. Use this feature – it works.

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