Not a whole lot for SEO writers/copywriters to be concerned about — at least not right now, according to the article Google Announces the End of Author Photos in Search: What You Should Know, on the Moz.com blog. Here’s a quick rundown of what freelance SEO writers need to know about this latest Google move.
What We Know for Sure about Google’s Removal of Author Photos
Why Google did it? The search giant seems to be gearing more of its search results for mobile devices. As you know, many of these have smaller screens that laptops and they take up a lot of space. Google has been doing this for awhile by the way (moving more towards making search results mobile friendly, as the Hummingbird Algorithm update highlighted).
Is Authorship Still Important? Yes, for the following reason as stated in the Moz.com blog post:
Google continues to work on promoting authoritative authors in search results, and authorship is one of the better ways for Google to establish “identity” on the web. Google continues to make statements explaining how important identity in content is, as explained by Matt Cutts both publicly and in [a] rarely seen interview.
Does The Removal of Author Photos Mean More or Less Click Thrus? According to the Search Engine Land post, Google Removes Author Photos From Search: Why And What Does It Mean?, the click thru rates seem to be about the same. It stated:
Eye tracking studies showed that, not surprisingly, people’s eyes were drawn to results that contained a face photo, even when those results were further down the search page. It seemed only natural then to conclude that such results had a higher likelihood of getting clicked. In fact, some claimed they were getting CTR increases of anywhere from 30% to 150% for results that had author photos.
So it was surprising to see [Google’s] John Mueller say, “Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new, less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.”
How to Create Your Google Author Profile: Here are the instructions, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak (Google).
What Should I as an SEO Writer Tell My Clients? Just make them aware of the change and encourage them to create a Google Author Profile if they haven’t done so already.
IMO, Google hasn’t invested all this time in this search metric to NOT use it. As stated in the previously mentioned Moz.com blog post:
If Google begins to incorporate more “Author Rank” signals into its search algorithm, establishing yourself as a trusted authority now could pay off big down the road. Disappearing author photos today may someday be replaced by actual higher rankings for credible authors …
So it’s important to have this if you do business on the web.
What Should SEO Writers Know about This Google Change Specifically?
IMO, that mobile search is becoming more important than ever. Proof?
Google’s mobile path to purchase report surveyed 950 US consumers across 9 diﬀerent verticals (Restaurants, Food & Cooking, Finance, Travel, Home & Garden, Apparel & Beauty, Automotive, Electronics, Health & Nutrition) to assess how they researched purchases via mobile.
What did it find? 48% of searches start on search engines, 33% of searches start on branded websites and 26% of searches start on branded apps and that this year (2014) mobile internet usage is projected to take over desktop internet usage. [Source: Mobile Marketing Statistics 2014, Smart Insights, Ltd)
Technology Spells Opportunity for Freelance SEO Writers
Learning how to write for mobile devices is a huge, huge opportunity. As I discuss in this post, technology will always present opportunities for freelance writers.
And that’s the latest from “The Big G.”
Personally Speaking … Freelance Writing from St. Croix
FYI, I posted a few pics of St. Croix on Inkwell Editorial’s (this site’s companion site) on Facebook page.
For my American friends, hope you enjoyed the 4th of July holiday. I spent it at one of the many, many beaches here in St. Croix. It was one of the most relaxing days of my life.