Content Marketing Search Marketing

August 29, 2014 at 5:35 am

Google Drops Author Photos – Its Effects on SEO

In June 2014, Google shocked the SEO world yet again – content creators and link builders in SEO Philippines included – by removing author photos from search. The announcement was made by John Mueller, Google’s Trends Analyst, in his Google+ page. Why would the search giant do this? Here’s a brief explanation of its effect on SEO.


google authorship photos

Perhaps, you are on the verge after investing in Google Authorship (with authorship markup no longer available for search according to Google). We cannot think of any other reason than the difficulty on the part of Google to rank sites and pages based on ‘author’ as a ranking factor.

Mueller mentioned in his announcement the driving force behind change is UX (user experience). There is the apparent spontaneity since Google is gradually transitioning into the ‘mobile-first’ movement wherein users will primarily use mobile devices in accessing the web. Based on the results of in-house studies, mobile queries will surpass desktop queries before 2014 ends.

Mobile and responsiveness aside, the biggest impact might be on click-through rate (CTR). A handful of companies claims that authorship photos increase their CTRs from 30 to 150%. True enough, based on eye tracking studies, users click results with face photos even when the results are at the bottom of the results page because these results appear more credible.

Now that we’ve established that author photo increases CTR, it is safe to assume that CTR will decrease now that Google removed authorship markup on SERPs. CTR is just one bump on the road though because of the somewhat domino effect the removal of authorship to other components of SEO.


What does this mean for businesses in the Philippines?

Simple. Publishing keyword-rich contents for any local brand is needed now more than ever. For one, corporate blogs as well as social posts are critical in reaching and communicating with the target audience and nurturing customer relationships.

Google removes authorship on search results only. This means that when a user lands on a blog post the author photo will still be seen. Google is not completely abandoning the idea of publishing photos along with the contents.

The consistency of the author photos across different web platforms tells much about the credibility of any brand, not just the content strategy and the contents themselves. Author photo is a form of branding also. The same goes with author by-line. Consistency in by-lines may mean more credibility in the eyes of the users. Credibility equals authority, at least, in the SEO community.

Right, you read it right – Google still qualifies authors based on by-lines. Put simply, consistent by-lines that Google reads can increase the trustworthiness (trust rating, if you want to call it as such) of the website thus ranking it higher compared to contents without a by-line.

Digitally, you are what you publish literally and figuratively. Anything that is published online under your name is yours unless otherwise you plagiarized (copied and published content that is not yours). As the author, you are entitled to your contents, thereby, protecting it from stealers-slash-credit grabbers.

As such, there is no reason you should not use or abandon authorship. It stands to reason that there are still several advantages of such albeit having impact on SEO-related analytics.  Anyhow, you’ve got nothing to worry about if your corporate blogger, for instance, continues to write and publish contents that your target audience will read.

With this though, now is the perfect thereby to develop an in-house SEO team which can handle the challenges of content creation and publication (if you haven’t had one already). Outsourcing is also a great option if investing on an SEO team is not feasible. Remember: high quality, unique and informative content are the bases of online competition.

Would you rather be left behind and lag behind the competition?


Source: Search Engine Land


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