The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

Update: As of August 2014, Google has discontinued Authorship.  So that means your face or name will no longer appear next to the results.  BUT you can still build your Author Rank through earning quality links to your site.

Google Removes Authorship Stats - What Does This All Mean?

Google taught me a lesson a long time ago…

Never get too attached to their tools and services because they may not stick around long. :)

The sudden removal of Authorship photos in the search results at the end of June AND the recent removal of the Author Stats report in Google Webmaster Tools caused some major confusion, along with disappointment.

After the updates, some are claiming Authorship is pointless and they’ve removed the markup from their sites.

Wait, Don’t Bury Authorship… Yet!

Even though the Author Stats and photos in the results are now gone, there is no evidence or official word from Google about Authorship or Author Rank being dead.

But Why Did Google Do This?

Of course, I always have my “it’s-all-about-money” theories when Google makes big moves.  :)

When I first heard about The Big G removing photos from the results, I immediately wondered if they were taking away from AdWords click-thrus on Google.com.

After all, the photos did draw your eye to the images, and could potentially distract people from clicking the ads above the organic results.

But Google Plus enthusiast, Mark Traphagen, believes it has more to do with Google trying to streamline and declutter the results for mobile users.  You can read his analysis of the whole situation here.

He’s much more objective about the whole situation than I am.  I’m sticking to my AdWords theory. :)

Bye, Bye Author Stats!

I was really looking forward to checking out the Author Stats report after the photo removals to see if there was any impact on clicks.

Well so much for that because at the beginning of this month, Google completely removed the Author Stats report too. :(

Author Stats Gone!

Remember, your name still appears in the results (see screenshot below), just not your photo.  So technically you would have been able to compare your Authorship click-thru rates before and after.

clickbank
Some believe they got rid of the stats because they will reveal the decrease in click-thru rates now that the photos are gone.

Well interestingly enough, my organic traffic actually spiked after my photo was removed. And I’ll refrain from making any jokes about the negative impact my face may have had on click-thrus. :)

But I have no idea if this has anything to do with losing the photo, or if it’s just an algorithm update that coincided with the photo removal.

Anyone else see any traffic swings either way since the photo removal? How do you feel about all this?


Comments

  1. Thank you, you have helped me so much, I will RSS your napturallycurly.com site and I love listening to you….stay in touch beautiful.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I first noticed that Google removed authorship images for our YouTube videos in the SERPs about a year ago. At the time I was told by some “gurus” that Google is always experimenting. And I thought to myself – “Yeah right!” Next thing you know they will be removing the YouTube thumbnail images from search as well.

    I know that everyone is concerned about the mobile experience but I don’t buy Google’s explanation this time. Well in a sense I don’t, but here is what I mean. Decisions like this often come down to the opinion of one or two people who are the head of a specific division at the GooglePlex. Then its left up to the spin doctors to give us something they think we’ll believe. Many times it’s the truth, others it’s just something that seems reasonably accurate. We know that there was a change when Vic Gundotra left and things were bound to change with the changing of the guard. Either way, we just have to stay nimble and roll with the punches!!

    I haven’t seen any change at all in my organic traffic so I rely more on traffic from social and other referrals.

    Thanks for the post Lisa, have a wonderful week ahead.

    • I completely agree, Ileane. These decision come down from the higher-ups and it’s a bigger business decision than mobile (at least in my opinion). And yes, all we can do is just roll on. :)

  3. All I can say is: good riddance. It simply wasn’t fair. Now they should get rid of the stupid ‘star’ ratings, which can be manipulated and give an unfair clickthrough advantage as well.

    • LOL, so I take it you weren’t a fan, Samer? :) I actually liked having the photos there but yes I do think people manipulate those ratings like crazy.

  4. I REALLY appreciate your tips. Thanks. You are a wiz!

  5. Hi Lisa,

    I agree with you Lisa that it isn’t good to be too much attached to Google tools. It is a wise decision not to be dependent on Google as a whole. Good for Ileane whose traffic is much more attached to social media. Not saying that we should attach to social media as well. But there we have may choices.

    That shouldn’t catch us unaware, we ought to prepare for any service update from a third party resources.

    Gougle authorship benefits go beyond the author photo on the SERPs and CRT. You rightly mentioned the critical issue of content theft and scrapping. What about the position on SERPs? Quick indexing of new contents, author and page rank as well as other SEO factors.

    I don’t record noticeable effect on my content CRT on SERPs. At least for now.

    Have a nice day.

    • Hi Aceclue,

      Yes, the fact we can claim our content has always been my favorite part of Authorship. I can’t see them taking that part away.

      • I hope they just revamp this in their next update. I’m with you, the authorship feature was great. I can’t help but wonder if it was a technical barrier that caused them to pull out on this feature. Granted there was countless tutorials to get it synced with your g+ account, I know far too many bloggers that were asking for help from “web nerd” folks in getting it set up. Maybe there’s an easier way to claim dibs on your content.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    I agree with you Lisa, that it isn’t good to be too much attached to Google tools. In fact it is a wise decision not to be dependent on Google as a whole.

    Good for Ileane whose traffic source is much more attached to social media. Not saying that we should attach to social media as well. But there we have may choices.

    That shouldn’t catch us unaware, we ought to prepare for any service update from a third party resources.

    Google authorship benefits go beyond the author photo on the SERPs and CRT. You rightly mentioned the critical issue of content theft and scrapping. What about the position on SERPs? Quick indexing of new contents, author and page rank as well as other SEO factors.

    I don’t record noticeable effect on my content CRT on SERPs. At least for now.

    Have a nice day.

  7. Juan Ferdinand Blardony says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m not an I.T expert or graduate. I want to ask you this since your one of the most reliable source for this topic.

    I have a question, I’m planning to create an account for “Google Webmaster Tool” to support my website. You’ve said to your blog post that it’s not good to stick with Google tools, how about the “Google Webmaster Tool do you think it will gone like Google Authorship? From the video training for Search Engine Marketing, it tells that Google Webmaster Tool is a big help for Search Engine Optimization.

    • Webmaster tools is a must for managing multiple websites. It’s great for checking out your sitemaps and finding out if you’ve got any broken links or issues that google detects on page. If you own a website, you should have it setup via webmaster tools. It’s right up there with analytics nowadays.

  8. Lisa, is there a difference between regular authorship and having Google searches pick up our Google+ posts? I have been putting keywords up front on my G+ posts and my photo and the link to the G+ post show up together, page one. I would love to understand this better,

    • I won’t pretend to fully understand the indexing algorithm of the actual Google Plus posts, but do you post lengthier posts that get good interaction from your followers? I know a lot of higher authority people on G+ like Mark Traphagen tend to rank well on Google Plus.

      And are these for competitive keywords you’re ranking for?

  9. In defense of Google. I appreciate their efforts in trying to clean up the web in a manner of speaking. Show me another search engine this dedicated to getting us real results. When we search for “Google Authorship” or what have you, we want this blog to show up, or something like it. If we get car repairs, or dog training manuals instead, then it would be a bad experience.

    Is Google all about the money? Am I all about money, who isn’t trying to succeed? I’m not saying I understand Google’s methods or the reasons why. Like someone just pointed out here, getting rid of stars also should be a good step. I think that should have went before pictures as we know it.

    Now, I have been told that if you have a Google+ and your friend has a Google+, Let’s say Lisa here for example. If she was in your friends account, and you were looking up “Google Authorship” and her website was part of the results, 1st page hopefully. Then you will see her picture, because that’s suppose to be Google’s way of saying, this person you, and to prove it, here’s the picture.

    One last thing, and I apologize for the lengthy comment. I appreciate Google keeping us on our toes. They want to make sure a false website don’t take the spot that you should be having. Google commands more than 80% of searches. I agree with Lisa, Google isn’t the only ship in the sea. You have 20% of visitors or clients left in the other places looking for you.

    Thank you Lisa for a wonderful post.

    • Yes, the personalization part of the Google algorithm is nice. I’ve always liked that. And I don’t think anyone will ever know what’s REALLY going on except Google. The rest of us can just have fun speculating right? Ha! Ha!

      And never apologize for writing a lengthy comment. I appreciate you taking the time to do so! :)

  10. The author photos are not entirely gone. If you visit news.google.com, you should see some author photos. For several more, click Business on the left panel, then Bitcoin. Some are traditional “news” sources like Forbes or CNET, but others appear to be more conventional blogs.

  11. Google continues to behave as a monopoly, but I think Bing and Yahoo are making inroads to take a share of the market. Google will continue to do what they do, but we don’t have to limit ourselves to their orbit exclusively!

  12. Actually, I hadn’t noticed that they were gone…. Too much going on in my life in these past weeks. Lots of ‘harsh realities’ of life; emotions. Didn’t even notice. Bye bye photos, huh? I’m not THAT seasoned; but I do know that Google likes change. Maybe they ‘live and learn’ – huh? ~~~Nancy Gurish

  13. Hi Ms. Irby,

    I’ve been offered a job with a small company who is looking to me to help boost its Search Engine Optimization and Social Media presence. Would you recommend some titles from your library specific to these areas ? Peace and continued success.

  14. Watch my 2 latest videos on SEO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B59PebgD_d0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW40VNGvp1U

    One was made last year but still very relevant.

    Make sure you understand that SEO today is less about what you do on their site and MORE about their overall social media activity, natural links pointing to their site and overall Authority that THEY build over time. Sure, there are things you can do like ensure content is targeting certain keywords that aren’t too competitive, etc. but make sure you set their expectations UPFRONT.

    A lot of people still believe SEO is about adding something to a page and waiting for Google to rank in a short time. In 2005 that was the case, but in 2014 if you do SEO for anyone it’s important you set the correct expectations or your customers may be very, very disappointed.

    Make sure you and the company are on the same page with what is expected and what you can deliver. With all the changes today I would never do SEO for anyone without giving them a basic understanding of how Google works so they understand there are no guarantees and also no such thing as QUICK results.

    SEO is an ongoing effort that is largely fueled by the company’s online profile/reputation that is built up over time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    • Thank you sharing for Ms. Irby, your knowledge and insight are very helpful and I appreciate you very much. I will be visiting your You Tube site and taking notes. The key points I got from your response : 1. create natural links pointing to their site (is that term synonymous with back-linking ? ) from the companys’ social media sites to company website, 2. ensure content is targeting keywords that are not too competitive, 3. establish company SEO expectations at the start explaining that results will be gradual, not immediate and 4. explain how Google works… I do not have a full grasp (if any) on how Google works but will research, read, and of course listen to your You Tube and podcast sharing. Since the business that is requesting my services is a true niche and the websites I am putting together for others are niches as well, I know that I will be in need of your book very soon after paying bills I will place my order for the pdf download next week. Peace and God Bless

  15. It was very disappointing for me when google removed profile pics from search results because before few days of removal i had verified my authorship…
    .
    Thanks for sharing this information to world…. I like your articles very much…..

  16. There’s no change in traffic after Authorship died. I guess Google is right then. In my point of Google Authorship doesn’t have any impact on ranking and results.

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