How Does Your Picture in the SERP Affect Your Click Thru Rate (CTR)

Google has been changing its search algorithms all the time. And we have been obediently following the trends in the hopes of becoming the top hit after a search is performed by users. Through the years, we have done techniques such as title optimization, writing compelling posts and meta description optimization aside from keyword optimization. This time around, Google is cooking another new way to improve our click thru rate possibility. And this is by the author’s picture.

In this article, we will discuss just how webmasters will reap benefits when they have a decent profile photo beside their article summary in the results page.

Google Authorship

Your blog will increase the readership and traffic when you associate it with your Google+ plus profile. In doing so, a photo of you will appear as part of the results for viewers to decide whether or not to click on your post. All you need to do is add the Google authorship markup, rel=”author”, in your blog post and then add your site URL to the contributors section in your Google+ page. What happens is that Google will fetch data and credit you as the author of the content posted anywhere on the web for as long as you include that snippet of code.

When users see the photo, they will be more encouraged to click the title hence resulting to one visit count in your blog. Many webmasters have tried experimenting and tracking the analytics. They compared the traffic count when authors don’t link up their pages to the Google+ profile and when they do. What they achieved was an average of 35 percent increase in the views that translate to the number of click thru rate as well.

In addition, they also found out that people are more likely to engage with authors that have pictures as they are seen as real humans rather than those without. Bounce rate drops and there are more minutes that equate for the time on site. This is because they view a blog as lifeless when there is no picture identifying the writer. On the other hand, they tend to trust bloggers who have an authoritative photo uploaded.

But not all photos will have the same result. Some would have negative impact, on the contrary. Possible reasons are when the photo is not defining the blog content or is not of any relevance to the post, when the photo is insulting or irritating the audience and when the photo is containing mature or offensive meaning that distracts the viewer. Usage of company logos or product pictures for the profile photo is also not advisable.

A good practice is to post photos of authors that appear pleasing to the eyes. It is recommended by marketers to put up one that has a red or yellow background in a mug shot to capture the reader’s eyes. If your blog has multiple authors, you can consider hiring a professional photographer or an amateur one that takes good shots to take a picture of your team to get the attraction you deserve. If you have serious blog contents, don’t post a wacky picture of you. Instead, opt for one that shows credibility in your writing and niche.

The next step is to run the test for weeks and months before changing the photo to a better shot. Track the spikes and consider the other things you change in your blog, as it’s not only the picture that contributes to the highs and lows of your click thru rate. Then stick to the picture which best can capture your intended audiences.

Be warned that Google has released an automated “police officer” that is in the lookout for those posting abusive photos or those related to pornography. Google marks them as spam in its report rich snippet spam tool.

End Notes

Your picture now in your Google+ profile will hold value if you link up your blog and your profile. Doing so will make your photo appear in search engines, and if your picture is good enough for a stranger’s trust, then you will receive more visits in no time. Try different shots and find out which works best for your blog.