Well they're gone...!!
3 years after it was released, Google are removing the little images that appear next to authored content that was originally so popular. initially, Google authorship was widely acclaimed as it allowed content producers to improve the visibility of their content in search results and it was simple to get authored content. Lately, Google has cut back on the amount of authorship content shown, improving the overall quality of the author snippets and thus making authorship a greater sign of quality.
With the proposed changes, the by-line of the authored content will remain, but author photos and the circle count (number of times that article had been shared amongst Google+ users) will be removed completely from the search result.
The old authorship design (shown below) was more distinguishable in search results due to the presence of the author photo next to the search result.
The new design (shown below) removes the photo completely so that only a by-line with the author's name is visible, thus making the search result harder to stand out among all search results.
Why were author photos removed?
Perhaps loading search results on mobile devices would be faster and free up space on the small screens of mobile devices ? Google found that the number of times the simpler authorship results were clicked was similar to the previous design; making the photos somewhat obsolete.
Although we can no longer use author photos as a tool to improve the visibility of content, Google authorship still matters. Authorship indicates to the searcher a sign of quality that isn't present in non-authored results. Even though the authored results will be less visible amongst search results, the fact that Google has simplified the presentation of authorship results instead of getting rid of them entirely shows that they are still committed to using author authority as a search factor.
So, authorship is something we can still use to improve the visibility and image of content in Google search results.
If you’d like to know more about the subtleties of search and content, and how this affects your brand profile, please call frank for an initial consultation: +44 20 7097 8906
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