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?
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.