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John Mueller announced that Google is dropping authorship photos from most search results.

Google AuthorshipAs of June 29, traditional authorship snippets dropped from 22% to 0% of search results across all date centers.

John Mueller announced that Google is dropping authorship photos from most search results. This rings bad news to most SEOs who are trying to up click-through rates and increase a brand’s visibility by incorporating real people into search results.

As of June 29, traditional authorship snippets dropped from 22% to 0% of search results across all date centers.

Big Changes in Author Photos

Previously, if you verified your authorship with Google, your picture will appear in the search results, linked to your Google circle account. Now, Google entirely dropped the photo and circle account, posting only the author’s name in the search snippet. The change will roll out widely in the coming days.

A different plot is happening with Google News, however. Not only will they post a larger news photo snippet, a smaller photo will also be added.

A lot of people have people been asking about the photo drop, they are also awaiting a saving feature in exchange for the detrimental change. John Mueller announced that they are working to clean up the visual design of search results because they’re gearing up for a better, fully responsive, and more consistent mobile experience.

Now that Google has prioritized a mobile-first approach, it is not surprising that they would take down authorship photos. The photos generate a rather cluttered small screen visual.

Authors believe that a good photo attached to a search result would yield better click through as users today find visuals more appealing. Nevertheless, Mueller said that test results showed that “click-through behavior” with the new interface is actually just about the same. Nobody knows exactly what this means, but critics are majorly blunt in expressing that instead of author photos, we’ll be seeing a lot of Google ads instead.

Same Old, Same Old

Authorship stays

The photos may be gone but Google authorship is not going anywhere. Mark Traphagen puts it in Google+, “Google Authorship continues. Qualifying authors will still get a byline on search results, so Google hasn’t abandoned it.”

Author names in search results

The new search results interface will still post author names in the search results, and these will still redirect to the author’s Google+ account. Whether this will par with previous click through rates or not, no one can tell so far.

Unchanged rankings

Rankings for search results will remain unchanged. Although photos may have contributed to more traffic in the past, the new system will not alter the order of results.

Authorship verification

At least Google authorship is still reputable when it comes to authorship. It is not changing the guidelines for authorship verification which is, verification via email, linking content to your Google+ account, then adding a link on your website form Google+ contributor section.

Authorship CTR, track it!

You can still track your click through rate (CTR) via Google Webmaster Tools. Check how many times your information has appeared in search results, how many clicks, and what your current average position is. CTR is majorly dependent on average position that even a small shake in rank can ripple a huge difference on number of clicks for each URL.

What’s next?

There is no definite future for Google+ and the same can be said of its authorship. In case they employ more of “Author Rank” in their search algorithm, it is highly advisable to establish yourself now. The disappearing photos are only the start of changes that will follow.