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Google made the decision late last month to remove authorship photos from search results. This led to speculation that the decision was made as a result of the impact of authorship photos on the CTR of paid search ads.
Larry Kim, CTO at Wordstream, set about looking for evidence to support this theory. Larry recently published his findings in a new report.
In the report, Larry examined the CTR of a search ad before and after Google’s announcement. Evidence was found that the CTR of the search ad he examined went up significantly when author photos were no longer displayed in the search results.
The CTR of the ad went up by 44.8% after authorship photos were removed. Larry adds that the data was tested rigorously, and the difference is statistically significant with 99% confidence due to the high number of daily ad impressions for the particular keyword (the keyword he tested was “negative keywords”).
Larry summed up his findings in a statement provided to Search Engine Journal:
We know that product listing ads draw attention and clicks because of the images, so it would stand to reason that the removal of author photos from organic search results would have the opposite effect. Many suspected that this was the case – now we know for sure.
For more details, see the full report published on Wordstream’s blog.