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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.