Google Finalizes Removal of Authorship Signs from Search Results
September 2, 2014 - News
Following a three month test, Google finalized the removal of author pictures from search results, as well as the ability to track this data through Webmaster Tools. According to Google’s John Muller, this decision stemmed from an effort to unify search results visually on mobile devices and PC, since author images look bad on smaller screens. Additionally, Muller mentioned that the difference in conversion/CTR between results with and without author images was negligible.
In recent years, Google has made an effort to optimize the formula behind deciphering author information and determining author seniority and rank. In this context, it’s difficult to forget Eric Schmidt’s past words: “within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance” (from the Digital Age).
As with any endeavor, this may have backfired despite repeated efforts, leading to its ultimate cancellation.
Google Testing Colors for Ratings Stars in Search Results
In recent years, we’ve witnessed the visual changes Google has made to search results. One of the better ones in this respect has been the addition of ratings stars that appear alongside the website’s title, when relevant and available. Recently, Google has started testing different colorways for these stars (typically orange), including blue, grayish-green and more.
It’s particularly interesting to note that due to a certain bug while running these tests, Google unified all ratings to appear as 5-stars, even when this wasn’t the site/product’s actual rating. The textual rating remained true.
Here’s a screenshot of search results before colorways were being tested:
And here’s what search results look like currently, in the different colorways (note all ratings shown are 5-stars):