Yesterday evening June 25th 2014, John Muller of Google announced via his Google+ account that Google will be removing the author photo and Google+ circle count from the SERPs. The reasons given are: to visually clean up the search engine results pages (SERPs), provide a less cluttered experience to the reader and create a more consistent design across devices.
There is much debate right now between (SEO) experts about how this change will affect the adoption of authorship mark-up and the click through rate (CTR) on the SERPs.
What can we expect will change (or not) in the near future after Google has fully removed author photo and G+ circle count from SERPs?
- After this change organic CTR will drop and ads CTR will increase – let’s face it; Google doesn’t make money off of organic CTR. [Share this ]
- Meta description and title will more strongly influence CTR in the absence of author picture and G+ count – back to basics, content marketing and a consistent story will become more important.
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- Google+ and authorship mark-up adoption will not drop, as Google Authorship expert Mark Traphagen points out, – this is not a first step in Google’s plan to abandon G+. [Share this ]
So what you should do next or should keep doing:
- Create and maintain your G+ profile. Since the G+ circle count will not be displayed, the playing field has been levelled. You should see this as an opportunity and not a challenge. For those who are new to the game, the lack of G+ circle count will not affect your CTR. Those who are old and entrenched, maintaining authorship mark-up and sharing content over G+ takes very little effort and has SERP ranking benefits. So there is no reason to stop now.
- Since meta description and title will play a bigger role in CTR, good marketers should take this chance to perfect their copy writing skills. Better copy which is consistent with your content marketing story will lead to a sustained higher CTR. At the end of the day, Google favours consistency and a good meta description that explains perfectly what the searcher can expect is consistency.
- Finally, with every major action Google is taking it’s telling us to stop using tricks and loopholes to get a better ranking; instead focus on creating amazing content and engage with your audience in a genuine way. Then your goals, your customer’s goals and Google’s goals are aligned perfectly.
For more related articles check out:
9 Must Read Articles on SEO and Link Building for 2014
Online Marketing Month in Review May 2014 – Google reigns surpreme and link building enjoys a revival
Storytelling and Content Marketing Virality: 7 Strategies