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Google+ Authorship In July 2014 What Changed And Did Not

In case you have missed it, circle count and Google+ avatar on the SERPs (search engine results page) is no more, since the end of June. If we are going to believe John Muller and Google this was done to clean the SERPs.

John Mueller on Google+ about the Authorship change

John Mueller on Google+ about the Authorship change

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.)

For more information on using authorship on pages of your website, check out this link

But some of us, well at least I do believe there may be other reasons behind that, one of them being that they actually built SPAM within Google+ to artificially inflate the number of relationships.

Circle count and artificial relationship building

Why was this done? With two previous attempts, or should I say failed attempts at e social problem or to quote Amit Singhal a couple of years ago in London about; “what Google wants to be when it grows up” talk at Google Campus:

when we think about social we think about identity

At this talk in 16/10/2012, I actually personally asked +Amit Singhal at Google +Campus London if:

Q: Google+ will it stick? ASKED BY ME (minute 60 of 60)
A: Compare with Google itself a few years ago. There’s your answer!

So theory one is that they are killing G+, gradually… I think not!

The two features that left Google+ open to SPAM were/are the ability to add shared circles and thus over 500 new connections or more in a single day, there is also the ability to only show users from a given number of circles and by doing this the savvy can easily construct the appearance of popularity or expertise on a subject they know very little about and indeed add nothing to it, but noise.

Matt Cutts on the popularity versus authority

The Avatar on the SERP

This was poorly implemented and possibly rushed out with not enough testing, in essence before the December 2013 update where they attempt to fix the issue, pretty much anyone implementing one of the linkage methods between a site and a Google+ profile, either by implementing the rel=”author” attribute or by linking and verifying a site email address would get their nice little mugshot by the results, then the authorship reduction in December addressed part of it, if a little too well, I have tried in vain helping some authors get their avatar on big G highway, to no avail.

Who benefits from the current setup?

This is a no brainer, the ones that never got their picture or circle count on the SERPs.

Who does it not benefit?

All of us that had the Avatar on the SERPs and circle count, the chances of CTR (click through rate) decreasing are very high.

In conclusion what changed and what remains the same

  • Avatars on Google are gone
  • Circle count e.g. In 650 circles - is gone
  •  By Pedro Matias/Author – line at the beginning of description remains
  • The impact of G+ and Authorship on rankings remains

John Mueller on Google+ about the change:

JM reply one on the thread above:

A few short comments:
- this has nothing to do with Google+.  You can use authorship markup without being active on Google+, you can use Google+ without using authorship markup.
- we still use & support authorship markup.
- the structured data testing tool is going to be updated too (and we’ll review the various help center articles as well)

 JM reply two on the thread above:

Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with Google+, nor with ads. This change only affects how authorship is shown in search (we continue to process & use authorship markup). 

Some additional theories as to why this happened:

Google Calls Takebacks on Authorship Photos: An Alternate Theory

The Real Reason Google Plus Authorship Photos Are Gone

I’ve got some of my own and I think we will see more brand logos on the SERP in one shape or other sooner or later. I do not think Google will pull the plug on it!

What’s more it has not gone completely

If you Google yourself or a strong connection while logged in, chances are you will see avatars associated with Google+ posts still!

pedro matias seo   Google Search

Thoughts, comments and of course shares and +1s welcome as ever!

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Should I Get A .london Domain For My Local Business?

In case you missed the recent coverage on BBC and wider UK media, or the more permanent debate amongst techies, Bloggers, SEOs and other web creatures, we are running out of domains, the solution has been to create more location and theme specific domains. Continue reading

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10 Questions To Ask Before Designing/Developing Your Website

As a website owner, the first thing I would recommend is that you start thinking about your website as if it was your car, your home or your business premises, I’m sure you go to great lengths to ensure that everything is in your name, that you are the legal owner of those properties and only you or someone you trust have the keys to it. Continue reading

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Server Location For SEO – How Important Is It?

In addition to using a local TLD for SEO and paying attention to other region, country and even city specific local SEO factors, it is also very important to consider where your server is located.

Here is proof that server location is an SEO ranking factor, right from Continue reading

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Is .co.uk Better For SEO? Local SEO And TLDs

Is .co.uk better seo? This is a question that brings a few visitors to this site, Google seems to “think” I already answer that question in another post. Google Local SEO 8 Quick Tips for Business. I’ll save you the click through, see below what that page says about a local TLD being better for SEO. Continue reading

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How To Style The Contact Form 7 Submit Button

Contact form 7 is a WordPress plugin for building forms, it is one of the most popular and one that I use on this site and a few others. I really like the AJAX messages it gives to the users without refreshing the page. Skip the prose Continue reading

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How Important Are Keywords In The Domain URL For SEO?

This is one of the greatest myths and misconceptions that float around the web and SEO world, the vast majority of my SEO tuition clients and some SEO clients also make this assumption. Continue reading

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How To Do SEO Guest Blogging In 2014 – DON’T – Sisyphus For SEOs

Sisyphus Greek Mythology

Sisyphus Greek Mythology – Image Credits Wikipedia

If you haven’t seen the post or haven’t heard the news (what are you reading anyway) Google’s SPAM czar, that’s Matt Cutts, has come out on his own blog announcing that Continue reading

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7 Shades Of Optimal – The Forgotten Word In SEO

My original title for this post was, 50 shades of SEO, but that was a book I got to chapter five or six and realised I was wasting my time, just another tale overhyped by the media and Joe and Jane blogs followed suit. On the remote possibility you don’t know what I’m alluding Continue reading

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Google Digital Analytics Fundamentals – October 2013 Certification 95%

I’ve taken the Google Digital Analytics Fundamentals test in October 2013 (this year of course) and got a Certification passing with 95%, things move quickly within Google and analytics is no exception, if you spend just a few months without reading and keeping up with changes, you run the risk to be left behind and act on outdated or irrelevant knowledge. Continue reading

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