Wow Google, you really like toying with our emotions don’t you? I’ve got bad news for every blogger and content manager out there who have recently run down to the nearest mall’s Glamour Shots to update their Google+ authorship profile picture. Google announced that they are giving the boot to your pretty face, literally and figuratively depending upon how you feel about it. Google is removing Google+ authorship profile pictures from their search engine results pages along with the Google+ circle count that shows up beside it. For many this feels like a devastating move while for others it’s all much-ado-about-nothing. Regardless your stance I’ve provided some information below as to how you should proceed.
What You Need to Do Now That Your Google Authorship Profile Picture Has Been Removed from Search
1. Do Not Remove Your Google+ Profile Picture
Authors may be tempted to take down their now seemingly useless head shot and replace it once again with their favorite sports team’s logo or airbrushed rendition of a unicorn (whatever floats your boat) but hold that thought. As stated your authorship has not been removed and thus all of the Google+ author profile set-up and maintenance requirements from before still stand. Keep your smiling face in place on your profile page as Google will still reference it to confirm that you are indeed a real person with real verifiable credentials. Things are about to get really strict with authorship so play by all of the rules and read further to see what I mean.
2. Improve Your Content Quality and Optimize Delivery to Keep Your Name in Play
Remember when Google made it’s first big shakeup to authorship back in January when it basically started a class war with it’s authorship update? Google’s intent with that update was to reward authors that delivered authoritative industry content on a consistent basis and on a platform (a website) with the domain authority to back it up. Those author scenarios that did not necessarily “check all of the boxes” were handed a lower class of authorship that only showed their name and circle count on the search engine results page (SERP). It was not always a fair assessment on Google’s behalf but it did spark a slew of content writers to “up their game”. With this week’s new update we can expect the same sort of thing to happen. Authorship will now be evident with nothing more than a profile name (w/date of posting) and to further ensure compliance with their mandate for the concept Google will begin removing authorship from some content writers all together – leaving the “second class” with no class at all. To keep seeing your name in lights your content quality must be informative, media-rich, hosted on reputable domains, and delivered on a consistent (no less than once per week) basis without variation.
3. Get into Google News (if you qualify) to See Your Smiling Face Again
For those of you devastated by the fact that your faces will no longer show up in SERPs in this manner you do have Google News as an option to retain fame for your pearly whites. If your site shows up in Google News from time to time your authorship profile picture will live again in a scaled down size (see pic below). Click here if you want to know if your website is a candidate for Google News.
4. Hang Tight Until It Returns
At the end of last year my Bold Predictions for SEO in 2014 stated that “Google Authorship Will Get Strict, Kicking Out Those That Don’t Deliver” and it indeed has. My mid-season prediction now is that your Google+ authorship profile pictures will return in some form or another (aside from the aforementioned Google News update). I expect that when users are in their logged-in state on Google profiles (Gmail, Google+, AdWords, etc…) that search engine results will carry over profile photos of G+ authors as they do now, in an effort to add value for those opting to remain logged in. Google does not want to see a reduction in Google+ use and this move may indeed spark such an occurrence with opinion leaders, many of which have authorship.
The morale of the story here is that you need to do exactly what Google has always asked of you – deliver informative and engaging content on a consistent basis. Let them worry about what they will or will not do next and let your content speak for itself, and you.