You may have noticed some changes to your Google search results pages this past weekend.
Yes, that nice biopic that you jumped through hoops to get to appear on search results featuring your site has suddenly disappeared! Is your google authorship photo not working? Has a new plugin screwed something in your site’s configuration?
After recent developments where Google were gradually limiting the appearance of Google Authorship images, they have now decided to can them all together – removing an excellent way to get a little competitive edge on the local competition.
So that’s it Google Authorship images are no more.
They’ve also dropped the data regarding the number of Google+ circles you were in as well.
Google’s John Mueller announced the changes on Thursday of last week:-
“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.)”
Mueller’s statement that “click through behaviours” would be similar seems bizarre, as that seems to contradict everyone else’s view of the benefits of Google Authorship.
However, the Authorship program is not dead, and you can (and should) still configure your site accordingly, as Google still has long term plans for the programme, and it may still be a ranking factor, so should not be ignored. At least now, you don’t need to worry about how dodgy your profile picture is 😉