Google has announced that it will no longer display the Google+ authorship information in the search results.
This is the Google+ profile pic and the count for the number of G+ circles you are in. Google has said that it’s research demonstrates that removing this authorship information (which, for most online marketers was a big reason why they embraced G+ profiles and pages in the first place) but that is not what a number of high profile marketers and agencies have stated.
Hubspot put out a post mentioning this post by Justin Briggs of Getty Images who did a study on the effects of the profile image in search results on click through rates.
Justin Briggs looked at Google’s own studies that said that Google found that profile pics and circle counts (social annotations) completely alter how we look at search results. Without them, users will tend to focus on the first few search results and ignore the rest. But, here’s what users focus on when annotations were added:
According to an article from the Guardian.com: Kristine Schachinger of Search Engine Watch commented on Mueller’s post that she had intentionally removed her picture three times from its G+ profile, which in turn lost it from search results: “Each time the drop was approximately 25%. Since I have one million impressions and 110k CTR [click-through rate] on average every threemonths, I think my tests show there is a significant drop.
“Also your assertion it does not change CTR would violate all other usability and eye-tracking studies that show that an image in search increases CTR,” she added.
While most marketers will lament the time taken to make sure they had their G+ profile linked to all their blog posts to ensure their image was displayed in the search results, there is still some hope as the author byline will still remain. However, it is bound to demonstrate more realistic figures for the Google+ social network since there was very likely a big inflation of figures due to the many people signing up for authorship and inflating their circle count to look good in the serps.
From my research over the last few days while surfing the net, I’ve found that they are still displaying images with both Google news and from your Google+ page as is shown in the image below.
Only a few weeks ago my G+ profile image of my face was displayed next to the website search result, however, I’ve seen today that the logo from my company page is showing after I shared the post on my G+ page.
So, if you want to ensure you get an image in the search results, it looks like those are the 2 ways to do it. Maybe big G is wanting us to use G+ for sharing posts and other info more. By adding images to the search results from G+ pages, users are likely to continue making sure their G+ pages are engaging and have all their recent content shared across the network.