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    Posted July 2, 2014 by
    Miami, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    The Real Reason Google Removed Authorship Photos


    Google’s John Mueller recently stated that the tech giant would be getting rid of authorship photos and circle counts from the SERPs. The statement released on Mueller’s Google Plus account was met with a heavy backlash from the online marketing community.


    What Was Google's Reason?


    According to the statement, the change was aimed at increasing UX (user experience). The tech giant firmly believes that mobile search will surpass desktop queries in the next year and they believe removing the photos and circle counts allows for a better mobile experience.


    What Was The REAL Reason?


    Google's notoriously bad for keeping a closed lid on their public relations and this announcement followed suit. Removing the photos and circle counts from searches will help for a clearer mobile search picture, there is much more to the story:


    1. When photos of the website's authors were displayed, studies showed that this could increase clicks on that website up to 130%. The problem was that not all website owners were able to get their photos to show up. Even if you were to set up authorship with the exact specifications to Google's directions, there was no guarantee that the photo would pull through. Google had accidentally set up a situation where some website owners were getting a massively unfair advantage. Removing the photos was a simple fix to this problem.


    2. Google's main responsibility to to provide a great experience for users, not search professionals. At first, the plan to show photos was to add a face to the internet and boost trust for searchers. Ultimately, it produced mismatched results which were improperly impacting user behavior.


    3. If you're an avid Google Plus user then you might know that being “circled” with someone can cause their posts to be displayed in the SERPs. This was detrimental to the user experience because it made it difficult to tell what was a Google Plus post and what as a search result. With the new change, Google Plus posts are easily distinguishable because they have photos - search results do not.


    4. Search results not only would include photos, but the amount of followers that person had on Google Plus. This lead to individuals buying fake followers on sites like Fiverr to make their online personas seem more popular. Google hates spam and removing the circle count was no doubt a way to combat this practice.


    What's Next?


    If you were one of the millions that lost your photo and circle count from searches, don't panic! Your click through rate (CTR) doesn't have to suffer. As a matter of fact, you can take this as an opportunity to improve it.


    Without any photos or circle counts, it’s a level playing area. Turn your focus to traditional aspects of SEO: title tags and meta descriptions. Utilize these 156 characters by creating great, creative copy.


    Search engine optimization is among the most dynamic professions in the world. This isn't the first time Google made an overnight change; it certainly won't be the last.

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