These strategies include optimising your title tags and meta descriptions. Which is now also changing as Google introduced an algorithm change taking away some of the control we have over title tags. Algorithmically trying to decide a better title for you if they feel yours is too long. SEO experts have often stated “70 characters or less” however it appears now that Google may be counting pixels rather than characters. Another reason not to be tempted to keyword stuff your titles!

In 2009 Google introduced rich snippets. A way of microformatting your data into a structured mark-up so that search engines can understand in more detail the contents of your website. This included the five star review system that many of you are probably now familiar with appearing within the search results.

More recently, with the explosion of internet blogging and the release of Google Authorship, we are starting to see Google+ profile images appear in the SERPS too.

It looks great having your headshot captured next to your blog post in the SERPS and makes you stand out from within the other results on the page. So this inspired many webmasters and bloggers to rush off and get their Google Authorship mark-up sorted with the promise of increased clicks.

What we didn’t expect was that some webmasters actually reported a drop in clickthrough rates after implementing Google Authorship. The problem was that they hadn’t realised the obvious. Their authorship photo was bad, uninspiring or just plain ugly.

Google takes the image from your Google+ profile for your authorship photo. Its easy to change and updates in real-time across the SERPS. So why not try experimenting with yours and see what works? Grab a few different shots and try changing the background, the colour, with or without glasses (if you wear them), close-up shots compared to wider angles, avatars, images with text, etc. There are many different ways to go about this but you get the general idea.

You can track your clickthrough rate within Google Analytics. Remember that all other things must be equal when experimenting with your authorship images. A drop in rankings will almost certainly affect clicks, this would skew your results and make it difficult to determine how successful your image is for attracting clicks to your site.

Here is some advice from the experts:

Anne Smarty: “Social media connects human beings. Your logo may scare off some of the potential followers and thus screw your profile building efforts.”

MG Seigler: “It turns out, Google — without telling me — went into my account and deleted my profile picture. Why? Because I am giving the middle finger in it.”

Google: “Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content. For example, do not use a photo that is a close-up of a person’s buttocks or cleavage.”

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Hayley

Search Analyst at Silkstream
SEO, blogger and Google geek. Committed to helping small business thrive during economic austerity.
  • Joe Seals

    This is a really good post. I have noticed that Google+ profiles are showing up in results. I’ve never even though about updating mine for ranking purposes until now.
    \n
    \nThanks for this info. It will get put to good use!

  • Hannah

    Woot, I will certainly put this to good use!

  • Iffi

    Glad to read your post :). It is very informative!