CTR Changes After Google Has Removed Photo and Circle Count From its Search Results

For long time SEO's were opting in for Google+ profile, Google Authorship and racing to gain more followers on Google's social network Google Plus, that was motivated simple - Google Authority with photos helps rank better and gives higher CTR.

I had a luck to test those features for less than a month - I implemented Google Authorship and started gaining more followers on Google+ at start of this June. Then on June 26th - Google announced that they are removing from SERP results photos and follower count. Some SEO's started to concern  - claiming that it will drop their positions in Google Search.

I decided to investigate  - how true is that:

Actually you can read my first findings in this post-  CTR Changes with and without Google Authorship, what I wrote soon after Google removed photos and follower count from SERP. 

Here are my findings comparing month of May (no Google Authorship) with month of June (with Google Authorship on board)

CTR changes in July 2014

Although my overall impression count decreased, clicks to my blog increased, and so did my CTR ratio.

So today I will continue to  investigate results - the life without Google Authorship on board, I will take data from Google Webmasters for month of July, and compare with previous months (June, May)

May 26,345 960 3,64%
June 26,025 1029 3,95%
July 42,976 1292 3.00%

CTR changes (data source: Google Webmaster)

CTR changes in July 2014

CTR changes in July 2014 (Data source: Google Webmaster) 

Doing fast evaluation - it's easy to find that CTR from Google's SERP has decreased from 3.95% when I had photos and followers shown, to 3.00% when I do not have photo displayed next to my articles in SERP.

On the other hand, you can see that my overall impressions on SERP has increased by 65%, while click count just for 25%.

Lets do another maths example - this time I'm willing to see potentially how much search visits I didn't gained, thanks to drop for CTR.

Let's presume I had the 3.95% CTR rate for month of July, when I had 42976 impressions on Google SERP, what would be my actual click count?

42976-3.95% = 1697 clicks

How much 0.95% decrease CTR costed me in month of July?

1697-1292= 405

I'm loosing 405 visits from search in month of July, after Google decided to remove photo and followers count from its SERP. 

Is it much? For a start it might seem - that 405 visitors is not so great number to be worried of - but again taking maths in help it turns out such changes means 31% traffic drop from Search engines.  I mean drop of 31% drop in traffic from organic search. It's huge!

Now - it results I have observed just on my blog - it doesn't mean that everybody is loosing their traffic from organic search, actually I'm not loosing it as well - I'm gaining more, just the CTR  in month of July for my blog has decreased. Much is dependent of overall metadata is seen in SERP.

Overall I do think 3% CTR still is a great number. Maybe I'm wrong. Please share your thoughts in comments.

Read more about my findings in Search Engine Optimization


Hi! My name is Reinis Fischer (38), a proud dad and devoted husband. CEO and Founder of Terramatris crypto hedge fund, drone enthusiast, world traveler, photographer, and passionate lover of Georgian cuisine (vegetarian).

An ex-pat living in Georgia since 2011, I trade stocks, take photographs, work out at the gym, and many more. Here I write about travel, finance, and other things that might interest me.