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Facebook Link Thumbnail Image Dimensions

When sharing your web site or blog on Facebook you want your post to look as good as possible to help with engagement. A good quality high resolution preview image is key to catching people’s attention and hopefully encouraging them to like, comment and share.

In this post we are moving on to what image sizes to use to make your post look as good as possible.

Author Photos in Google Search no longer appearing

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.

Author Photos have been removed from Google search results

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?

Yes!

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 now instant

Google My Business verification is now instant with Google Webmaster Tools

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/business/answer/2911778).

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.

How to add onload to the body using Genesis add_filter

We puzzled about this one for a while but worked out a hack that seems to work although we would appreciate it if anyone can comment with the right way to do it.

We need to add onload="initialize()" to our body tag to enable the Google map API to work.

We came across the

add_filter( 'body_class', 'add_body_class' );

and gave that a try.

Unfortunately the line

$classes[] = 'onload="initialize()"';

resulted in the following:

onload="initialize()"">

As it just added it to the list of body classes already in there.

Our sneaky workaround was this:

classes[] = '" onload="initialize()';

Which basically closes off the preceeding classes and adds our onload then uses the original ” from the class list to lose our onload off.

Does it work? Yes it does, but we do feel a little dirty ;-)

Free Google website speed analyser tool

Google’s PageSpeed Insights analyser tool is the perfect way to check your website page loading times and find out what is slowing it down.

As you are probably aware, slow loading websites not only put visitors off but are also penalised in Google Search Engine Results (SERPs).

According to a study by Gomez,

“Nearly one-third (32%) of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between 1 and 5 seconds”

So every second does literally count…

The Google PageSpeed Insights tool analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Reducing page load times can reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates.

What is PageSpeed?

PageSpeed is a browser tool & extension (for Google Chrome and Firefox). It runs a number of diagnostic tests against a web page, and analyses the page’s performance on a number of “rules” that are known to speed up page load time. The rules are based on general principles of web page performance, including resource caching, data upload and download size, and client-server round-trip times. For each rule, PageSpeed gives a general score, using a simple red-yellow-green grading scheme, and suggests specific techniques for correctly implementing each rule. It also provides some automatic optimisation of external resources included on a page, such as minifying JavaScript code and compressing images.

How does PageSpeed Insights work?

PageSpeed Insights fetches a site’s contents (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, etc) live, using a webkit-based renderer. It then runs the same PageSpeed analysis found in the PageSpeed browser extensions (for Chrome & Firefox browsers), and presents them online.

You can access the tool here.