The big news this week is that Google has dropped author photos entirely from the search results.
For the last 3 years or so you would have noticed that some search results had a little photo of the page authors face.
Based on our research, these little photos did increase click-through rates considerably and add an extra layer of trust to the Google results.
There are many theories as to why Google has dropped author photos including:
1. They take up too much page real estate and bandwidth which is an issue as Google focuses more on mobile users.
2. They create the illusion of trust or “Google approval” that may not be warranted and cannot be verified.
3. Author photos were seen as too competitive with the AdWords ads displayed in the search results.
4. After 3 years only a small proportion of sites had activated the Authorship markup code. It can be a difficult process.
What is interesting is that the customer review stars still appear in the search results. I wonder for how much longer?