October 26, 2014

Reactions Mixed On Google Dropping Photos From Authorship

google dropping photos

No one can ignore the importance of Google in our search and marketing, or how we show up when someone is trying to find us, something we write about, or specific content they are interested in.

For those who have a Google+ profile or regularly contribute original content, the two most important things are the SEO around the topic and that the author’s name  is associated and attached to it with a hyperlink.

In short, mobile users want things simple and clean. So, Google’s move to drop the author image is indicative of research and trending that they are seeing. Google has been an intuitive leader and I wouldn’t bet against them.

Some of the pros:

  • A cleaner overall  presentation.
  • A better focus on the content topic.
  • A direct link to the author and their content.

Meanwhile, here are some reactions we’ve collected from the Twitter community:

Some people said it makes Google Authorship or Google+ irrelevant:

Photo images and circle counts do contribute to impressions, but it is the quality and consistency of what someone does, writes about and their values that really matter.

Some people like it:

But most don’t:

There is great value and impact from images and visuals when they tell the story. Nothing can emotionally charge something like a picture. (The issue is, as I see it, that people don’t take the time to put the proper picture up to enhance their profile. Rather, they pick images that are sometimes the wrong size making them hard to see or a distraction.)

What do you think?

Happy Sad Photo via Shutterstock

More in: 12 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

12 Reactions

  1. A lot of people put significant effort into their authorship and were getting great results. However, I feel a major reason had to do with CTR. The image drew attention and got people to click those results (win for author), but it also meant a click didn’t go to an ad (lose for Google’s revenue machine). For a publicly held company with a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value (revenue), this is a very logical business decision. Fewer clicks on author image means more clicks on ads = more revenue for Google.

    • It really is a business decision then isn’t it Robert. But, still the question is can it only be about shareholders? People grow businesses. We’ll see if in fact this increases clicks.

  2. I have a Google+ account, but hardly use it, so the change doesn’t really affect me. However, I can understand those with Google+ accounts who are far from happy with Google’s decision.

    Google needs to find a balance between its users and its shareholders. Both groups are just as important.

  3. The problem, I think, is in the time that people have spent to optimize their pages for authorship only to have Google take it off all of the sudden just because they’re losing revenue.

    • There are other ways to bolster authorship, Other than Google+. People should explore more ways to be recognized for original content.

  4. A couple thoughts I’d like to add.

    Maybe I’m naive but I don’t see this move as a tactic to increase ad revenue. Obviously G+ has not caught on like Google had hoped. This move seems like they are admitting defeat – -searchers don’t care how many people are in an author’s G+ circle. (I know I certainly don’t.) From my experience as a searcher it seems only a very small minority of sites in a listing included an image.

    And on the page where you established authorship to begin with Google always stated they would only include the image if they thought it would enhance the quality of the search results.

    To maximize revenues they need searchers to return again and again and again. So removing anything in the search result that is irrelevant or meaningless to the searcher makes sense.

    Also, the concepts of authorship and authority aren’t going away. Google can still use your G+ circle count as ranking factor; they just won’t include it in the results. Just like they don’t include the number of links to your site or the age of your domain or any of the other things they use to determine a search result.

    • Thanks Pat. You are not naïve, and Google never does anything just to do it. They always have reasons that most of the time we have no clue they are formulating. Google is a gentle monster with a very imposing purpose. Somehow, I do trust it but with a cautious eye.

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