The writing has been on the wall for some time now and anyone with a Google Webmaster Tools account (you do have one don’t you?) and a website that isn’t mobile-friendly, will have received emails warning them that their website is not mobile friendly:
Author Photos have been removed from Google Search Results
Back in September 2013 we wrote a post on how to get your Google+ photo displaying alongside your search results using Google Authorship. It detailed how to link your WordPress Blog to your Google+ profile so that information from your profile and your Author Photo (Google Profile Photograph) showed alongside your search result.
So why did Google decide to remove the Author Photo from search results?
Google have now decided to remove the Author Photo from search results. In a post on Google+, John Mueller describes how Google have been working to clean up the visual design of their search results.
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.
So how are author photos changing?
The announcement means that the author photo in most Google search results will no longer display. Up until now, if you verified your authorship through Google+ and Google chose to display it, you may or may not have seen your author photo display to the left of Google search results along with your Circle Count. It was always a little hit and miss and sometimes it would show your image, other times it wouldn’t.
In the future, Google only plans to display the Author Name in the search snippet. Goodbye author photo and Circle Count.
Here’s a screenshot showing how the search results looked before and after the author photo and Circle Count have been removed.
What isn’t changing?
Authorship is still here
Nothing is changing and Authorship is still well worth setting up on your Blog.
See our detailed guide on How to set up Google Authorship on your WordPress website
Authors names still appear in search results
The authors name remains as a click through link to their Google+ profile page
Rankings don’t change
Authorship didn’t have any bearing on your search rankings, just how the listing looked. Your rankings will remain the same
Rules for verifying authorship are still the same
Nothings changing in the way you set up or verify your website & Google+ authorship.
Is Google Authorship still worth doing?
We imagine that for many, having your author photo displayed alongside your listing was the be all and end all of Google Authorship and now that your author photo has been removed, the number of sites verifying Google Authorship will drop.
Even with the photos removed we still think that it is worth while going to the trouble of setting up authorship as you still get a click through link to your Google+ profile and who doesn’t want to see their name show up alongside your search listing?
And who knows what Google might have in store for us in the future. Maybe author photos might make an appearance again or authorship may play a bigger part in listings so we still advise all of our customers to spend the time and get Google Authorship set up.
But the Author Photos are still there!
Hold on one minute…
It seems that Google has only removed the Author photo from external sites listings.
The decision by Google to remove authorship images applies only to external sites, like yours and mine. Google+ posts are still showing the author photo for logged in users.
This news is huge and Google+ has all of a sudden become very very important to SEO. But before you rush over to your Google+ account and start posting there are few caveats. Firstly you have to be logged in to Google and viewing personalised results. But hey, this applies to anyone who has a Google account and logs in. So that’s anyone who uses Webmaster Tools, Google Docs, Google Calendar etc etc. But, and here’s the downside to this. These authorship results displaying an author photo are based on your personal Google+ network so only posts related to your search query by people in your Google+ network will display the author photo in the search results.
Even with these limitations this is still huge and shows how much importance Google+ plays. So, if you haven’t got a Google+ page and don’t post to it regularly… What are you waiting for?
Google My Business verification is now instant. According to an announcement on their forums, from today you can now instantly verify your business listing if you’ve already verified your business website with Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Employee Jade Wang posted the following:
Good news — starting today, if you’re verifying a page for your business, you may be instantly verified on Google My Business if you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Webmaster Tools. The verification will happen automatically, if applicable, when you attempt to verify a page for your business.
If you’d like to try instant verification, please make sure you’re signed in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your site with Webmaster Tools
Not all businesses with websites verified using Google Webmaster Tools will have instant verification, since not all business categories are eligible. If that’s the case, please use one of our other methods of verification (https://support.google.com/
In the past verification had to be done via a Postcard. You created your business listing, entered your business address and Google would send you a Postcard in the post with a PIN number that you entered to verify you are where you said you were.
Now this can all be achieved instantly if you have already verified your business’s website with Google Webmaster Tools and if you haven’t, shame on you as it it’s a very powerful tool for all Webmasters.
How do I verify my Google My Business page?
Make sure you’re signed in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your site with Webmaster Tools. Note that some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification.
Once you’ve verified, you may see a banner asking you to review your information and make any final changes.
Click Done editing when you’re certain everything is up to date.
Note that you won’t be able to update the business’s name until the verification process is complete.
Bing: Searching for “Google” results in a pop up advert for Bing
Typical of Microsoft. Rather than spend time and effort making your product better than everyone elses. Use childish tactics instead.
Microsoft have been running their Bing it On campaign for a while now to try and tempt people away from Google and over to their Search Engine. The idea being a direct comparison test where you would enter a search query and then decide which results you liked. Reminds us of the whole Coke vs Pepsi challenges of years gone by.
Now they have decided to make it even more obvious by displaying a pop up when you search for Google!
Try this. Visit Bing, (here’s the url as you more than likely never use it: http://www.bing.com/?cc=gb) and type the word Google into the search box.
And look at what you get.
Hummingbird – Google announce their new search Algorithm
A day before their 15th Birthday, Google went back to their roots – literally.
In the garage where Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the world’s largest search engine, Google announced a handful of new changes including a major update to their search algorithm called “Hummingbird”.
The new Hummingbird algorithm, which has been in place for nearly a month, affects 90% of all searches said Amit Singhal, senior VP at Google.
So what is Google Hummingbird?
Despite many questions from the audience on just how does Hummingbird work, Google avoided getting too technical.
What they did say, and kept repeating, was that this was the biggest overhaul to their engine since their 2010 “Caffeine” update. Caffeine provided 50 percent fresher results for web searches than their last index (see Google Caffeine Blog post), and that the Hummingbird algorithm focuses on more advanced search queries rather than parsing searches word by word.
The new algorithm is designed to accommodate questions on par with what someone might ask a friend rather than the usual short keyword query we are used to.
For example, rather than “web design innerleithen” users may now search for “are there any web design companies in innerleithen?”
Google summise that internet users are becoming more comfortable with searching and move beyond the one or two word searches or short directed terms eg: “web +design +innerleithen”, and users will begin to type real questions into search engines. Google aim to be the first to accommodate this and provide good quality results.
How will Google Hummingbird affect me?
Well, Google silently pushed Hummingbird out a few weeks back so if you haven’t noticed any large spikes or drops in traffic already then the answer is it won’t!
And finally, if you’d like to remind yourself how Google looked back in 1998 then search Google for “Google in 1998” or click here to go directly back in time. It’s amazing how little it’s changed since then but then why change something that works.