Authorship Snippet Update: Google Removes Author Images from SERP

Authorship Snippet Update: Google Removes Author Images from SERP

Last week Google announced that they are simplifying the way authorship is shown in SERPS.

Google Announces Authorship Snippet Update

Also on TechWyse:

Why You Should Be Claiming Google+ Authorship
How to Improve SEO with Google Authorship 


From the announcement:

“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.)”

Now this update has been made official by the major change that has seen authorship photos completely removed from serps. According to latest Mozcast report, 0% of search results shows images in author snippet.



Google has made an update to the structured data testing tool also:

Before the authorship snippet update:

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

After the authorship snippet update:

Google Structured Data Testing Tool Updated


How does this update affect the SERPs and your site’s organic traffic?

Though this update does not impact the organic ranking of your site in Google, it may affect the organic traffic.

Here is a search result for “marketing land feedburner" now and then,

When author snippet appeared in the SERP:

Author Snippet in SERP - Before the update


As you can see in the above screenshot, Google was showing author image, name, the number of G+ circles he has and the link to his other articles.


Now when Google removed authorship snippet:

Author Snippet in SERP - After the update


"An author name may not pull enough clicks as the author pictures once did!"



Click Through Rate (CTR)

Adding authorship snippet was a great way to increase Click Through Rate (CTR). Just by adding an author image to search results, sites have increased the number of clicks from the search results page. With the latest authorship snippet update, your site’s CTR may be affected.

How it actually affects CTR:

>> Author/Brand Identity

There are instances that the authors become a brand than the site. For example, Jonathan Colman is a well-known content marketing expert and people who know him/his articles are likely to notice his image in SERP rather than the description or even the title. That means whenever I perform a query related to content marketing, my eyes were once stuck on snippets like the one below. Thus encouraging me to click on the article link.

Authorship Snippet Preview

>> Guest blog post’s CTR

An article from a well-known author always leads to a comparatively high CTR and results in more organic visits your site. For instance I know Ann Smarty and am a great fan of her articles. I tempt to read her blog posts whenever I see her author snippet in the Google SERP – I never had a second thought on what site she's actually writing on. If your organic traffic has readers like me, then your site’s guest blog posts may witness a traffic change. There may not be a CTR percentage compared to earlier, because now the organic visitors are not get enticed up by their favorite author’s images.

Read an interesting interview with Ann Smarty:

>>What to look for

You may see a drop in traffic even if your site is ranking top for the target keywords as same as earlier.

Webmaster CTR Data

You can see the CTR report in Google Analytics also: Acquisition>>Search Engine Optimization

However, you shouldn’t be panic on this update, since the authorship still has the value it has on SEO earlier. Now the author name is shown in search results, except the image/number of G+ circles etc. That doesn’t mean that Google has made any algorithm update on SERP. It is only a structural update that doesn’t affect your site’s organic rankings.

As I mentioned, identity on content is still a positive signal in the eyes of Google and implementing authorship on your content should be continued.


"An authorship markup is not all about your beautiful face in SERP, there is much more!"


It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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Post a Comment


  • avatar

    I agre with you. My visitor is down

  • avatar

    This change will also affect the placement for those who make extensive use of the snippet?

  • avatar

    Great article and very detailed. I agree with you on the decrease in organic CTR. I also think there will be a greater focus on meta descriptions due to the lack of any other indication of quality of the content.
    This is not bad news, as it will shift the advantage to marketers that have expertise in content marketing.
    I wrote a blog post that complements the point you make here.

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