Google recently did a switch how it serves its search results - this time Google removed photos and circle count from search results. Google used to served photos and displayed circle count info for those authors who had verified their Google Authorship.
The switch happened around June 26Th, 2014. And some digital marketers started to worry - how it will affect their CTR rates from Google search. Ofcourse, although I'm not a full time digital marketer, I have some worries.
Actually I implemented Google Authorship for my blog and one other site just recently, and was very proud of my image showing up in SERP results. Unfortunately there is not very much data to compare, but I decided to take a look at my Google Webmaster tools to see how my CTR for SERP changed by using Google Authorship with photos and circle count in search results versus simple results (no additional data in search results).
My methodology is simple - using Google Webmasters tools - I'm extracting data from search queries for month of May and June. In May I didn't have Google Authorship verified - in June I had.
CTR % without Google Authorship installed
SERP results May 2014
In above screenshot you can see impressions/clicks ratio for month of May 2014. I specially took a 30 day period, so it's easier to compare with next month (June)
In first 30 days of May 2014, I had 26345 impressions and 960 clicks, what makes my click through rate = (960/26345)*100= 3.64% CTR
CTR % with Google Authorship installed
SERP results June 2014
In month of June, when I had Google authorship added, I had 26,025 impressions and 1028 clicks. Comparing to previous month my impressions even decreased. So what's about CTR?
(1028/26025)*100 = 3.95%. Although my overall impression count decreased, clicks to my blog increased, and so did my CTR ratio.
CTR comparison table
As we can see both from images and table - CTR % did increased when using Google Authorship. The question remains - what will happen next after Google has decided to remove both author images and circle count info from its search results page? My understanding for now is like this - probably CTR % rates may go down, but just a little bit. The fluctuations might be in 0.5 % diapason.
Overall I'm pretty happy both with my 3.64% and 3.95% CTR from Google search results. I understand that sites receiving zillions of traffic 0.5% decrease in their SERP might mean 10-15% drop of traffic, but for me who is receiving just a little above 1000 visits per month from organic search 0.5% change doesn't mean much. Although I doesn't mean I'm not paying attention to that.
Will see how next month (July) will look like, compared to previous two months in terms of CTR from search results. For now I'm pretty active on Google+ service, gaining +1 and getting more followers there. Will it pay of in future? At least I hope so.