Optimize Your Google Authorship Image To Increase CTR

Feb 8, 2012 • 8:41 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google is placing the authorship rich snippet author image all over the search results these days. Heck, if you are an SEO and do SEO related searches, you probably see my mug shot all over Google. I am not the prettiest person to look at, which may lead to a lower click through rate on my stories compared to someone like Sarah Perez.

Seriously, which story would you rather click on?

Google Authorship Image

Google Authorship Image

A WebmasterWorld thread has one webmaster claiming that when he added the authorship markup, it actually lead to a lower click through rate from the Google search results. So what he did was change the picture and his click through rate spiked!

At first this actually seemed to hurt clickthrough. Apparently people didn't feel that my mug shot was relevant to their searches.

So I changed my profile pic to an image that's relevant to the content of my main site, in particular to a seasonal topic that's important. I saw an immediate, significant boost in clickthrough, mostly on the SERPs that are directly relevant to the pic but also somewhat on more generic SERPs as well.

What really impressed me is that the change in profile pic took effect instantly. I changed the pic, and the SERPs changed right away - so it's pulling the pic directly from my profile.

This opens up a whole new realm of image-based clickthrough enhancement. I'll have to experiment with different images to find out what will work best for the whole site.

Soon enough we are going to have to worry about pornography in these authorship tags. I guess that is why Google released a report rich snippet spam tool.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Jeremy Myers

02/08/2012 02:06 pm

Any idea when they will roll this out to the rest of us? I have had my rich snippets set up for months, but so far, no image next to my search results.

Andrea Doimo

02/08/2012 04:13 pm

I remember reading that the image has to be recognized as a face to work for authorship markup. (they should be using the same face-detection technology already used in tagging photos)

Ricky Shah

02/08/2012 06:26 pm

I'm tired of applying Google author tag to my site. Although, everything seems working, I am still not able to past initial stage. I am missing those CTR experiments :(


02/08/2012 07:57 pm

Please let me know how i can add author image, should i add image tag in my website coding or have to do anything else? 

Jon Loomer

02/08/2012 08:06 pm

Do you have some instructions on how to do this? I've seen some elsewhere, but it seems like quite a process. And I don't have an author page for my site since I am the only author (and that seems to be a key ingredient). Thanks in advance!

Michael Martinez

02/08/2012 08:09 pm

This is still a pilot program and the images do NOT appear for the vast majority of people who have set up Authorship link connections.  Only a very select small number of people are included in the pilot program.

Vic Holtreman

02/09/2012 06:48 pm

How is a picture of a guy with a goatee relevant to an SEO article? 8^)


02/09/2012 09:54 pm

Actually this is an advanced SEO technique. How to get your client to stand out over the rest when both are page 1? We totally get this post. However, I cant get my personal site authorship to show after we did everything. So to stay on the SEO side of this; attractive pics are like facebook ad pics...more interesting get clicked on more. Cleavage over buttcrack wins everytime :-)


02/09/2012 09:55 pm

Not to say your photo equates to buttcrack Barry :-)

Neil Lecky

02/09/2012 11:12 pm

After one month, my image just showed up in search engine results last night after a spike in the number of people that added me to their G+ circles.


02/10/2012 10:17 pm

Thank you for the insight Barry. We incorporated your post into our own about the mathematical side of design. http://wrightimc.com/blog/2012/02/10/math-science-and-design/

Chris Snelling

02/14/2012 03:55 pm

My picture just showed up in search results, after about 5 weeks of adding the authorship tags.  I thought it would make a big difference in CTR on Google SERPs but it has only stayed the same or dropped slightly.  I was sure it would increase traffic but am disappointed that it didn't.

Arjun Yadav

02/14/2012 07:08 pm

A recommendation surely adds trust to a link hence increasing the CTR for that link. Get social, Get traffic is the way to go !

Nikhil Phirke

03/04/2012 07:29 am

I have multi-author blog and only for posts of one of my author, its shows rich snippet image and normal search for other authors posts, do I need to submit the form for each and every author?


03/05/2012 09:41 pm

i guess image with white background is very helpful ...as it is very much clear and readers attract on such images...

Lonn Turner

05/28/2012 07:06 pm

Hey Barry! Do you know if the Google serps automatically lines your author rich snippet image to the left side or is there code to do that? When testing my author r. snippet, the pic was on the right side of the test results page.

James H. Hobson

12/04/2012 05:04 am

Adding a clear and pleasant face shot WILL improve click through. It is worth noting that background colors do impact CTR. Whether or not you like them, "warm social colors" such as orange and golden yellows seem to be the optimal background colors. A colorful shirt can also help although blue seems to be the best choice. For balance you should make certain that any head lean or facial turn is to your left so that it leads the eye to the listing when viewed. Don't just upload any photo! Be deliberate in every aspect of the photo you take and post for Google Authorship.

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