Google’s removal of Author images from Search and what this means for your business

Posted: 27/06/2014ICreated by: Paul Sideridis

There is a lot of talk about how Social Signals affect your Google exposure.

While many believe this is inevitable, the most visible sign that you can use to your advantage has come in the form of [rel=”author”] or otherwise referred to as authorship.

So what does this do and how can it help you?


Having a great page title and catchy meta description helps your page stand out in Google search results. However as seen below, authorship is the icing on the cake.

Google authorship image removal

By leveraging off your G+ profile image your search results stand out and your brand is highlighted.


To date those who have applied this method correctly have experienced an increase in clicks.

Here are two examples;

Click through rate increased 38 percent
http://www.seobodybuilder.com/marketing-conversion/click-through-rate-increased-with-rel-author/

Clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150%
http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/

However confusion around the tag resulted in a perceived unfair advantage over those not using it.

So the word from Google is they have ”been doing a lot of work to clean up the visual design of search results” and in doing so the author image shown in search results will be retired.


Why? the drive behind this has been to create more consistency across different devices such as desktop and mobile.

What does this mean for your business?


While the biggest incentive to use authorship was the visual trigger in search results, this doesn’t mean that Google is backing off in using this as a stronger indicator of quality content.

So the presence of this signal like many other Google measurements is now hidden.


As social signals become stronger Google will continue to use authorship (rel=author) to define your industry and topic credibility. In turn this is bound to impact your Google exposure.

So how do you get started?


If you already have a G+ account and are actively engaging with your peers and audience you can skip this step. Ps. make sure your happy with your mug shot and that it will present nicely 44x44 pixels.

First of all in order to leverage of this, the folks at Google need you to sign up for a free G+ account here; https://plus.google.com/?hl=en

Using Gmail or other Google services already professionally? You should be able to use the same account and simply add G+ through the same link above.

Once you have your image, details and link to your website within your G+ account, next step is to link your website to the profile.

This is where you need to decide whether you want your profile pick on all your website pages, or on specific pages such as your blog.

<a href="https://plus.google.com/105376366755492352342/posts" target="_blank">Paul Sideridis</a></p>

With this said, Google prefers that you include the tag rel=author within the link like this;

<a href="https://plus.google.com/105376366755492352342/posts?rel=author" target="_blank">Paul Sideridis</a></p>

For more information on how to setup authorship for your website visit;
https://plus.google.com/authorship
or search Google for “how to setup Google authorship”.

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What's your website hiding from you that Google doesn't like?

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