Digital State Cheshire

DSC Discusses dropping author pics

A change that picked up a lot of industry interest this week is the fact that Google is now dropping the author pics from its SERPS.  The two interesting facts to me are

  • there was clear advantage to be gained (in CTR) by having these profile pics
  • on the whole, the adoption rate hasn’t been great for this element (outside of tech industries)

Given these two acknowledge facts, my assumption is that Google’s tests showed the delineation between adopters and non-adopters didn’t reflect, adequately, the delineation between good and not-so-good search results.  Hence, it wasn’t an effective variable to incorporate in the SERPS (and thereby add CTR to links that weren’t demonstrably more valuable) and hence Google has parked it.

Of course, wouldn’t that tend to imply that people who’ve ticked all the boxes that Google has asked them to (Google+, Authorship tagging, Rich Snippets, etc) aren’t necessarily the ones who offer the most relevant results for a search?

Or is it simply, as Mark Traphegen thinks, a case that Authorship has grown up and Google is ready to take this relationship to the next level?

However, that’s not the only changes Google have rolled out this week.  Far from it.  If your business focuses on Paid Search, it’s been a very busy week indeed.

Google adapted their shopping feed specification, which requires attention as you’ll need to make significant adjustments over the summer.  They’ve added the capacity to segment between brand and generic paid search traffic on Analytics and will now provide greater granularity in the bidding and reporting for location extensions.

All of which represent both excellent opportunities for dedicated Google Ads managers to focus their efforts more specifically (and for Google to squeeze more out of them through greater bidding modifiers!)

Arguably the most interesting development for those in the PPC world, however, was the amount of information released by Google in the Quality Score paper (and video).  A very interesting primer and an area that we’ve looked at in previous digest.  However, not for the first time, it’s Larry Kim at Wordstream who offers the best analysis with important insights into what factors you need to manipulate to guarantee your Quality Score is optimised.

Outside the (direct) glare of Google Announcements, the other big news came from the after-shocks of SMX Advanced earlier in the month.  Unfortunately, not many of us can make it over to Seattle to see the presentations in person; however, the most popular talks have been collated here for our perusal.  My personal favourite is from Marianne Sweeny who dwells on one of my particular bugbears – the importance of user experience in the panoply of algorithmic factors.

And to chime with the arena of UX, I’ll end this week with Hubspot’s highly inspirational collection of compelling calls-to-action.  It’s is in the DNA of every human to do, to progress, to act; and a simple yet effective CTA taps into this urge – it provides us, subconsciously, with the invitation to do what we crave to: to act…NOW!

Are you feeling compelled to join the debate?!  Give us your thoughts below…