How much difference could your photo in search results make:
- Better click through (if the photo “invites” to click AND / OR if the surfer recognizes you in a photo (see this example of Chris’s clicking my result because he knows me from Twitter))
- Better branding (The more people see your face in search, the better they know you AND the more your photo stands out, the easier people remember and then recognize you).
Your author’s photo is no longer the matter of your vanity: As an author, you *have* to test your photo until you get better results.
Your author information is pulled from your Google Plus profile whenever you claim the authorship of an article using rel=”author” markup.
Things to remember:
- In order for Google to pull your profile pic and place it in search results, your profile picture should be your headshot (no logos, cartoons or mosaics are accepted except for a couple of leaked ones you can see now and then. Don’t risk though as those are caught and removed from SERPs pretty fast normally)
- Unlike the above rule (which is official Google authorship TOS), Google’s stance on various slight gaming variations is unclear. For example, what if a logo is next to my proper headshot (like on my SEOish Twitter profile @annsmarty)
- You won’t be able to see your mug any time your claimed article pops up in search results. How Google picks articles to display your photo in search results is yet undisclosed and unclear.
Makes a big difference portraying a personal touch by using an img of yourself. Don't hide behind a brand for social engagement #myblogguest
— Geoff Jackson (@zigojacko) January 24, 2013
Tips and Examples:
First, a little exercise: here are three screenshots of search snippets I got for [“To block or not to block – that is the question” google plus”] search:
(1 – Rupert)
(2 – Jaana)
(3 – Ronnie)
Who would you click (click the image inside the poll to enlarge):
I’ve been collecting more fun tips as well. So here’s what I have found (Mind that results will largely depend on your niche but you are the best to know your audience reading your articles!):
- Turn face towards search results – this should attract more attention to your search snippet (“They look where you are!”)
- Closeups should be better (better crop to the face; no shoulders)
- Smile is usually good (may depend on the niche though. Maybe smiling lawyers have trust issues, maybe not)
- Looking professional may be a good idea (again, may depend on the niche). Citing @RonnieBincer, “I do notice a bit more ‘professional-type’ inquiries since I removed my ‘green santa’s helper’ hat and went for a more ‘professional’ image.“
- “Stand out” can be another cool tip. Citing Lyndon NA “once things become “the norm”, being “different” may work better.“: So you may want to play with various frames and forms.
Last but not least: Remember it’s not about standing out only: We need conversions (clicking)! Making your face red would make you stand out but will they click your listing or follow you?
Mind that there may be different opinions but think about your goals and target audience:
Your photo should fit your niche … look like you belong there. #myblogguest
— Don Sturgill (@Don_Sturgill) January 24, 2013
Rupert because title pulls me in. I know exactly what it'll be discussing. I'd read Ronnie if I were looking for general info. #MyBlogGuest
— Quirky Jessi (@quirkyjessi) January 24, 2013
1. Google Structured Data Tool to test how your face looks next to your URL. Mind: The Google Structured data simply interprets on-page markup. It doesn’t necessarily mean the avatar will make it to SERPs… (it might though)
2. Author stats inside Google Webmaster Tools -> Labs to monitor results after you change your photo.
Have you done any testing? What’s your strategy?
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