Oh no it had to happen. I predicted it and Google is going to drop the picture or authorship from the search results. If you do not know what I mean, it’s the personal photo that appears next to your website in the search results.
Personally I love it and it has worked really well for us, albeit, it was a photo of myself and not someone more attractive. But alas, like all things in Google land, nothing ever remains static and they are always changing, bending and altering the rules.
Our Google authorship photo has been there for well over 2 years and I personally am upset to see it go. I feel it really drew a lot of attention our way and had a big impact on website traffic and overall inquiries.
It will be interesting to see the kind of impact this has on businesses who rely on Google for their income. My theory, is that it will really level the playing field and hence place a larger importance on SEO.
This is kind of working against what Google is really after, that is for you to be spending your money on Adwords. Now that the left and right hand sides of the page will look similar, there is extra incentive to have a website that ranks.
Being on the first page is great but without your pretty picture there, Im afraid there is going to be a drop off in web traffic. This is the reality of how people search and if you are not in the top 3, then life online is going to become grim. Even if you are on page 1 with a great photo – this is going to disappear – websites above you are going to get a lot more traffic and ultimately do better than you even if they have a similar offering or web content
Google Authorship, SEO and Traffic.
The rationale behind this is that people gravitate towards an image. They see a photo on the white page and their eyeballs are immediately drawn to this picture. It doesn’t matter what you look like, if you are a man or a women, the natural instinct is to click on the image.
This trend started of slowly and I must say in the last 6 months really took off. Everyone was doing it, especially in our niche of SEO and Web Design. To add fuel to the fire, this had a kind of domino effect. If one would see their competition with a photo, then it was a quick call to their SEO company to have the same thing as well.
So What Happened?
Over a period of time the landscape got too cluttered. Every man and his dog was doing it and you couldn’t tell 1 image from the other. It got so cluttered and the page became far too busy with too many images of too many different people and personalities.
This ended up with a bit of a mish mash where the results became too confusing and this had an effect on adwords revenue. Online searchers would naturally click on the first image and ignore the Adwords – this is bad news for Google and their shareholders who rely on this revenue stream.
As of today 26/6/14 our Google authorship picture is still up there but I predict that is will disappear in the next couple of weeks. Rumour has it that this has started to happen in the UK and the roll out is just a matter of time.
I’m not sure what kind of spin to place on this. Is it a good or bad thing? Like all events with Google and all algorithmic changes, all you can do it go along with them and try your best to adapt. Luckily, I would say that we have a strong SEO team on board that are always on top of these kings of seismic changes and we are quick to evolve and adjust our marketing skew.
I for 1 will miss seeing my photo up there but it really levels the playing field and puts just that much more pressure on us to perform when it comes to SEO and internet marketing for our clients. Who knows what will happen next. Now with authorship a dinosaur, perhaps there will be coloured Titles or Descriptions. In any case 1 thing is for sure, Google’s core business is adwords and they will do everything in their power to keep you, the business owner and aspiring entrepreneur spending more online.
Here’s a quick update and this is around 2.5 years later and the authorship is dead and buried and no one really remembers it. Google has basically done nothing as radical in the past couple of years except:
> added another advert in the Adwords area at the top of the page, there are now 4 ads which has pushed the organic results further down the page, which is a bit of a bummer for us people that rely on SEO traffic.
> put a huge emphasis on local search results. This means that Google will display websites for your search that are geographically near you. So for example if your a plumber in Bondi and expect to rank in Parramatta, you can forget it. Results are far more targeted. This is great to boost local business revenvue but for many people that want to rank nationally this is proving to be an issue.
> rankings are now based more on relevant content. Google is now looking at what your telling your customers and if your pages are not relevant then don’t expect to rank.
> having keywords in your domain name are no longer that important and it’s more about having a brand name that’s memorable – see what Google says:
Rest assured, the next trend is just around the corner so stay tuned as we will be the first to know about it.