Google to Remove Author Images and Circle Counts from Search Results. What Now?

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, has announced on his Google+ account that Google will remove Google Authorship images and Google+ circle counts on search results.

In his announcement, John stated:

“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.)”

Here’s how Google Authorship looks now compared to before:

Before:

Now:

(Images by: Search Engine Watch)

This update is devastating to brands and marketers who rely on Google Authorship images to improve organic search click-through rate (CTR) because they’ll likely see a decline in organic traffic. Authorship images have been proven to increase CTR by as much as 35% since readers are attracted to visuals and more inclined to click on articles with images displayed. But now with authorship images removed, marketers and companies who invested in the effort of setting up for Google Authorship images will lose this advantage. Their content will become just another article cluttered on Google search results pages. This will reduce their appeal and most importantly, organic traffic.

To learn more about the update, visit Google Removes Authorship Photos and Google+ Circle Counts From Search Results