Much has been said this week about Google dropping the underline on organic listings. If you didn’t notice, here’s a good post by Barry Schwartz over on SearchEngineLand with some good illustrations.
However subtle, this also reduced the number of characters which Google will display from your title tag. Looks like you now get about 55 characters instead of 60. Dr. Pete from Moz wrote a very in-depth article about it and the nice folks at Moz even have a preview tool you can use to see how your listing will now look. I recommend checking out your top pages.
So with this on my mind I was doing some research on St. Patrick’s Day (as you’ll notice from the Google doodle of the day) and came across an unusual sight. Here’s what I saw:
Take a closer look:
Of course, you’ll probably notice the “Feedback” link in the lower right. I went ahead and clicked. Here’s what happened:
Where Did It Come From
The first question I wondered was where Google was pulling this listing from. Following the link I see that it’s the first two sentences from the content on the page, as shown:
Okay, but scrolling further down the SERP page shows me that this new listing is actually the same listing appearing in position 6.
More Preference for Authorship?
I don’t think it’s coincidence that Google chose the only listing on the SERP with authorship as the test for an expanded listing that includes more content. Authorship has long been rumored as their secret weapon against spammy content and the key to proving your relevancy to the GOOG. I could see this as another way for them to discover the best content with which to populate their knowledge graph (since they seem to be branching out beyond Wikipedia).
However, I don’t like that they drop the picture. Images draw the eye and even if you do give more info, a block of text won’t get noticed as much as the headshot.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think. Nefarious Google plot or simple test?