This one is bigger news for SEO pros and others who make their living from the web, but you’ll notice it too. And you might be one of those savvy business owners who knew how to get this set up, and that it helped you get a higher click through rate.
Check out the image below:
One thing you no longer see to the left of the blue SEO title is those occasional images of people’s faces, so you know who owns or runs the website. To most, it’s probably a mystery of how you would get a photo like that up, but in reality it was possible for anyone to do it.
So Why Would Google Change This?
Barry Schwartz, who writes regularly at Search Engine Land, reported that Google’s John Mueller posted this on his Google+ account as the official reason for this change:
“We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)”
Notice the last sentence there. John Mueller reports Google found this design has a similar click-through rate to the old one. Schwartz also notes that this claim was made despite Google claiming the opposite previously, and many tests from other SEO pros showing these images actually increased click-through rates.
So Why Would Google Make This Change If It Doesn’t Affect Click-Through Rates?
If you scroll down the article reporting this change, and read the comments, this one by “Jamo” makes the most sense:
“Wake up people! As Moz[’s] Rand [Fishkin] said, most likely the photos were increasing CTR for organic results and negatively impacted CTR on ADS (PPC ads). It’s about money, money, money.”
This comment seems to shed the truth on the issue. You’ll notice the PPC ads appear to the top and right of the search results (and sometimes Google shows them at the bottom too).
If you have these nice, pretty images of people distracting from PPC ads, it makes sense why users would click those search results rather than the PPC ads. And remember, those PPC ads are Google’s primary source of revenue, so it makes sense they’d do everything possible to maximize that number.
The search results will become a little less cluttered. Our question for you is how do you view this removal of author profiles from the search results?
Is that good, bad, or does it not even effect you at all?
Let us know in the comments below: