Google is Removing Authorship Images in SERPs

One of the best things I loved about Google authorship was having a small image beside my blog posts and websites within the search results. It made my search engine results stand out and resulted in a super duper high click through rate!

I even invested in some new fancy pants photos for my authorship image!

But Google is taking away the Authorship Images in SERPs

It is really too bad that Google has decided to do this as it provided a wonderful way to leverage against the competitors who didn’t play Authorship. And those who have authorship are the individuals who are playing by the rules!

Google’s reason for this authorship image removal is that they are ‘cleaning up’ the search results as they feel it is too cluttered since not all search results have authorship images. This makes sense to me as it can be hard to read the SERPs with sporadic authorship images. Here is an example screenshot of a search results with some authorship images vs no authorship images. The red arrows represents the possible focal point of the users eye.

google authorship reading

At the very least, they are keeping the author name within the Google results.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS

When Google first introduced the author image in the search results, there was a noticeable spike in traffic to those who had authorship set-up. They even displayed how effective it was within Google Webmaster Tools’ Lab section.

google authorship labs

But once the images are gone, I don’t think it will have a huge impact on click through ratios (CTR) assuming you have some optimized Meta Titles in place.

Don’t get me wrong though, traffic will drop substantially but will pick back up once people get used to the changes.

HOW TO MINIMIZE THE LOSS OF TRAFFIC

As most of the authors with images in SERPs will be in panic mode, you can turn this into an opportunity by implementing a few simple strategies.

STRENGTHEN YOUR GOOGLE+ CIRCLES

Authorship will still be in effect just not the images in the search results. This means that your search results will still show up higher for those who are following you on Google+. This is your opportunity to build online relationships by investing in adding people to your own circles in anticipation of others adding you.

A simple technique for this would be to simply ask people to follow you on Google+ at the end of your blog posts.

STRENGTHEN YOUR META TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS

Because the author image is going away, you need additional eye candy to entice people to click your search result listings. A simple technique I like to use is capitalize each word within the search title and description.

Meta Title Example

This makes your search engine listing pop out from the rest of the results and will end up having a higher click through rate.

USE RATING STARS WHEN APPROPRIATE

If you write reviews on your website, then having rating stars can have a huge impact within the SERPs which lead to more people looking at your search engine result listings.

Here is an example of the rating stars in play AND a video thumbnail for a search result listing on mine.

Google Rating Stars

See how awesome that looks!? Eye candy for your potential audience.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It certainly is a drag that we’re losing out authorship images in SERPs, but consider it also a great opportunity to enhance other areas of your website and Google+ circles. By implementing the above strategies, you will most likely not lose much or any traffic potential at all.

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade. Or in this case..

When Google takes away authorship images, make great Meta Titles!

What are your thoughts on losing authorship images? Do you think it will affect your online business? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

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Jay Neill

Jay is the founder of Affiliate Resources, Inc. and a full time online marketing consultant who helps people get started in the world of affiliate marketing via live weekly training sessions. Read more about how Jay helps people get started online.

Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Colin

    |

    Hi Jay

    Interesting article about the Authorship Image Removal – I guess it’s kinda like going to a new school and having to make new friends. Anyhow we’ll have to adapt to Black and White candy and make it stand out.

    Thanks – Colin

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jay Neill

      |

      Thanks Colin,

      I think we can live with some black and white for a while. Unless you have the rating stars in there! 🙂

      At the end of the day, we need to always be cautious at which Google gives us as it can be taken away at any moment.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    BeckieG

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    Hi Jay! Since my authorship picture never showed up, probably because of my lateness in adding Google authorship, it doesn’t bother me. However, I am going to implement what you stated above! Thanks for the info!

    BeckieG

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jay Neill

      |

      Awesome way to think about it BeckieG!

      You don’t miss what you never had.. Love it!
      Try keeping a routine when it comes to implementing the above strategies as this will then become a normal task that goes along with your content creation.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Shawn

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    I never really got my photo to show up so not so disappointed in losing authorship photos. I use all in one schema and also Google does not want to show my stars. It does show up in the testing tool but not in google search

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jay Neill

      |

      Hey Shawn,

      Rating stars don’t always show up within the SERPs, my theory is that they only show when the stars are above the fold on the page. Meaning that you see the rating stars before you scroll down.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        David

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        But anyone who knows about the star rating will know you have put the stars in yourself. So it is worthless, it ain’t like your gunna give yourself one star is it

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Brandon

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    Hi Jay,

    I’m glad I found this otherwise I would have been confused to why my authorship suddenly disappeared. Are these changes immediate or on the horizon?

    Also, is that a WP plugin you are using to add the star ratings to your site?

    Thanks for always being on the cutting edge!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jay Neill

      |

      Hi Brandon,

      From what I can see within the SERPs, it has already taken place.

      The interesting thing though, is I am still seeing authorship images from those who I am following on G+, but as soon as I click the hide private results icon – the images go away.

      Assuming they are going to continue with this, then we should continue to build our Google+ followers!
      The review widget I am using is called WP Reviews by AuthorHReview.com – it’s a great plugin!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Nathan Stadler

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    Thank you for keeping us aware of what google is doing, my site is only 1 month old, so I didn’t have an image to make use of. I did enjoy the adding google + to the end of each article. Shall I just use a link to link people to my google + account?

    Reply

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