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Google Removes Profile Photo and Circle Counts from Search Results

In a rather big and mostly confusing announcement, Google's John Mueller posted this message on Google Plus:

He writes - "We're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count."

Gosh!! This is not we were prepared to hear. What's more confusing is that he goes on to write "Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one." Is that really possible, when several experiments conducted by so many internet marketers around the world indicates that displaying author pic in the search results actually helped them increase their CTR.

From the comments received on Mueller's post on Google Plus, we can clearly make out that author images were a measure of trustworthiness of a resource and it did helped to increase CTR.

Why Did Google Removed Author Pics?

The answer probably is uniformness and SPEED. Google wants to display the same design to both its desktop audience as well as the mobile audience so removing authorship could clean the clutter and will provide a uniform experience across a variety of devices.

Mueller said "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."

One of the comments by Jennifer Mitchell says "Long term this makes search results consistent across the board... which with the recent changes to the Adwords ad format actually is likely generate more paid clicks for Google which = more profit." a valid point. Might be some experiment revealed to Google that not displaying author pics on the search results were contributing to higher ad clicks and vice versa.

But who will say the truth guys?

Google Authorship images paid the brunt! What's next?

Google will slowly and gradually remove all the author pics from the search results. It will get done in a few days from now I guess.

Did you receive a higher CTR on results that displayed author pic? Please share your thoughts on this.

Also See:

How to Make Full Use of Google Authorship?
Rel=author an Important Ranking Signal
How Does Google Applies Semantic Search
Emanuel Update
Google Tag Manager
Latent Semantic Indexing
Facebook Graph Search Optimization
Google Sandbox effect
Google will Continue to Support Toolbar PageRank
Search Engine Optimization or Search Experience Optimization
Google to Provide Examples of Unnatural Backlinks
Google Patent to Determine Spam
Google Diavow Links Tool