Just a few weeks ago, we published our findings on the latest Google Panda search update. Now, Google is changing a key element of search results related to Google authorship, turning some headshot smiles into frowns of frustration.

Over the past two years, we at LexBlog, have enthusiastically shared with you the perks of getting Google+ (both via this Please Advise blog and Kevin O’Keefe) as a legal publisher. One particular benefit we emphasized was having your headshot appear in search results for your blog posts as a result of Google authorship markup, like this:

screenshot of old SERP search result of blog post

On June 25, Google announced it was changing the way search results appeared. The most notable change was no longer showing author photos adjacent to posts. The new results now look like this:

screenshot of new SERP search result for blog post

According to Google, authorship still exists, but instead of the previous headshots, posts will instead feature “bylines” with your name and published date.

You can still take advantage of Google authorship (and network through Google plus) by performing the necessary steps to set up and maintain your Google plus profile. At this time, we have no changes to report to the required setup or maintenance for you, though will update steps (in Support Center) for clients as necessary.

The Panda update as well as this G+ / authorship update both relate to services provided by Google at no cost to users. Still, it is no surprise that this change is an upset to so many who fear decreased clicks from search result pages, like Real Estate Attorney & Legal Blogger, Richard Vetstein:

Perhaps anticipating this reaction from users, in the announcement, John Mueller of Google stated:

Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.

What do you think? Do you anticipate a change in click-through rates (or have you already seen one)?

What Google+, Authorship, or search-related questions or ideas do you have? Share your thoughts in the LexBlog client community, Support Center.

Headline image modified (white space added on either side). Original G+ photo courtesy of Flickr user Bruce Clay, Inc.