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John Schulenburg
Works at Intuit
Lives in Walnut Creek, Ca
529 followers|14,975 views
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If they can deliver...Wow...
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Stay safe our there, John!
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Path to Freedom #GoT
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From the canyons to the caves, Pluto to the desert sands, these 50 facts will take you around every crevice of Arizona.
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GET OVER HERE! 
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Google Is Removing Author Photos from Search. Why?

Anyone who follows me knows that I have invested heavily in trying to be one of the foremost experts on the subject of Google Authorship and Google's overall desire to be able to identify authors as topical authorities.

So you might imagine that it came as a huge shock to me when I heard the announcement today that Google will be removing author photos entirely from Google search results. Some might expect I'd even consider it a blow. I don't, but more on that below.

In addition to removing the photos, they will also no longer show Google+ circle counts for Google Authorship authors. All that will remain is a small byline in the result. For more details see http://searchengineland.com/google-plays-authorship-search-results-dropping-profile-image-google-circle-count-195163

Cleaning Up the SERPs
Google's +John Mueller had the following to say about this change:

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. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)

And that's why this doesn't come as a huge surprise to me. Google has been telling us (and signalling by much of what they've done) that the game for the future of search is now to be won or lost on the mobile playing field. But with the addition of a street band's worth of bells and whistles on the SERPs these past few years, they had set themselves up for a very wobbly and inconsistent search experience.

In short, mobile users want things simple and clean.

It's the same thing most of us do when we realize it's finally time to unclutter our houses. Ultimately, some things must go. You hold up each object and try to think of ways you could justify keeping it, but in the interest of the bigger project (a cleaner, less cluttered house), that old bowling trophy goes into the waste bin.

The End of Authorship? Hells No
That's how I think the decision process went down at Google. I think they understood the value of the author photos, but at the end of the day, whatever that value was, it was not greater than the value they'd gain by uncluttering their search pages.

Google Authorship continues. Qualifying authors will still get a byline on search results, so Google hasn't abandoned it. 

Besides, the bigger project here for Google I think is not author photos in search but the much ballyhooed but so far elusive "author rank," the ability to confidently determine who the content creators are in any given topic whom most people trust, and boost their content when appropriate. At SMX Advanced this month +Matt Cutts indicated that was still a priority, but was also still a long way off in being accomplished.

This is a long haul project folks. Don't head for the lifeboats every time Google makes a change.

Am I disappointed to see the photos going? I sure am. But such is the search business. Google isn't driven by whims or emotions. If they're doing this, they're doing it because their data and testing tells them it will be for the better in the long run.

The biggest downside I see is that probably now there will be less incentive for new people to use Authorship markup. But I have a feeling Google isn't worried about that. As I've been saying, they know that most people never would adopt it anyway. They've got to be working on the ability to identify authors and their content without depending on markup.

That's coming, but it will take a while. Stay tuned!

For another very thoughtful take on this development, I highly recommend this post by +Eli Fennellhttp://stonet.co/TkfMpU

#googleauthorship   #authorship   #googleauthorrank   #authorrank  
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Nice write up, +John Schulenburg. Thanks for making it clear that authorship is still vital and Google is still using it, even though the nice +Google+ photos are going away. This is in line with their mobile first design they talked about at Google I/O. 
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8TB NAS for $550 feat.@FreeNASTeam A lucky reader will win this NAS via my #FreeNASGiveaway See blog for details http://ow.ly/xGKHH
Ever since building my own NAS, I’ve enjoyed periodically writing a FreeNAS build blog to help inspire fellow DIYers. Each of the times, these …
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Work
Occupation
Digital Marketing Leader
Skills
Inbound Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing, Web development, Web Analytics, Channel Attribution,
Employment
  • Intuit
    Group Leader of SEO, 2013 - present
  • Electronic Arts
    SEO Director, 2012 - 2013
  • Red Bricks Media
    Director of SEO & Social Media, 2011 - 2012
  • Lifescript
    Director of SEO & Social Media, 2007 - 20011
  • Newegg
    SEO Manager, 2006 - 2007
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Male
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Husband, Dad, Geek, Knowledge Seeker, American Citizen
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Currently
Walnut Creek, Ca
Previously
Scottsdale, Az - Los Angeles, Ca - Walnut Creek, Ca - Flagstaff, Az - Tempe, Az - Pasadena, Ca - Irvine, Ca