Still #1 when I search and that's not even what he's talking about.
He's claiming that having a G+ picture inserted next to search results is resulting in a much lower CTR than they previously had.
Which I think is plausible as it detracts from the search experience, I often skip those results as the text isn't lined up so I can't scan it properly. Wish you could turn them off, it's really off putting. I also wonder what the CTRs of pretty people are like compared to munters. I still don't get why Google added it.
I'm traveling, so it will be a while before I can check with the team, but the initial message that kicked off his investigation referred to clicks to his site, which I believe can include overall traffic to his site. I'll double-check when I'm back from traveling though.
I was also responding to the overall headline of his site ("How Google Authorship decreased our traffic by 90%") because there are other reasons for the decline in traffic to his site. The headline is definitely overstating things; the article itself concludes "Turns out, it's not that simple. Some pages moved down, but some have improved drastically." And on the graph he shows, the worst CTR decrease is -57% while the best CTR increase is 329%.
So I think the headline of this article ("How Google Authorship decreased our traffic by 90%") remains inaccurate.
Just to follow up on this: I did check with the team, and the message that Jitbit received ("Search results clicks for http://www.jitbit.com/xxxxxxxx/ have decreased significantly") pertains to the amount of clicks per day, not clickthrough.
In other words, the message that Jitbit received--and that sparked this article--meant that Jitbit was getting less overall traffic from Google, not that clickthroughs had gone down. That's consistent with the site being affected by Penguin as well.
The article is admittedly bad and rather annoyingly he doesn't seem to show the actual results for the page he was talking about.
Rather ironically at the moment it seems to be one of the best indicators that the article is farm spam and should be ignored. Apart from when I see your handsome face or Scott Hanselman's of course! Personally, I dislike the feature and wish I could turn it off for my search results, it adds negative value for me and I keep meaning to set up a script to disable it but my quick experiments in the dev console screwed with the page layout.
Could you tell us how much a picture improves or alternatively adversely affects the CTR? And which pictures are winners and which are losers? Or perhaps it has no effect? Stats!
You might miss this now as it's late, but the screen shot of your traffic results doesn't include the page '/macro-recorder' in the section titled 'It's not that simple'. That's the page you were talking about in the paragraphs above in the article, that's the page that's still number 1 in google when I search and still has your screenshot next to it when I search for 'macro recorder'.
It's the crux of your argument and it's completely missing, it's the only relevant page, everything else is almost completely irrelevant.
I'm not at all disbelieving you, but I'm also honestly saying you don't really seem to understand the scientific method if you think what you published is good enough to support what you've claimed. It's a half finished investigation, the facts are completely inconclusive.
And that's what undermines a lot of SEO experts opinion still today. Speculation without fact. Your post at the moment is plausible but without the most important serious fact. What traffic were you getting before the picture appeared for that one page, and what traffic were you getting after the picture was added. Can you confirm that you didn't change the meta description or title at all?
Everything else is a distraction to the most basic scientific method and that is what makes the article bad, you've conflated a bunch of different 'symptoms' with one hypothesis.
Which is true but it's irrelevant to the current situation. Which is that lots of us (see below) have come to associate the mugshots with G+ posts, which are usually mediocre, so we don't even look at them.
What people perceive governs how they behave, and your explanation won't change that.
Authorship markup for sure, but the question was "Can I have my photo next to my search result if I don't have a Google account?". To put it another way: Are there author pages that google uses as source for an image in the SERP that are not G+ profile pages?
Our site WAS affected by Penguin indeed, even by the first version of Penguin a year ago. Because we sell web-forum software and ticket-software - that both have a "powered by" link at the bottom, our SEO agency advised to add that...
And we're still trying to recover... I'm contacting our clients one-by-one and we're changing those links to "nofollow".
We have never paid for links, the only paid ADs our agency buys are CPC-campaings on download sites like "download.com" etc... Can this be a reason? Should I tell them to stop doing that?
UPDATE: anyways THANK YOU MATT for commenting this and letting us know we're penalized by Penguin... Not many people are lucky to have Matt Cutts look at their issues!!
PS. I guess we should fire these guys, remove/disavow all links and start over...
Hundreds of thousands of paid links? Excuse me? We do NOT pay for links. The only thing I can imagine has initiated Penguin - we sell web-software (forum software, helpdesk software etc) that has a footer link "powered by XXX". We dis see this affected our rankings a year ago and we're still trying to recover (making those links "nofollow" trying to contact the linking webmasters etc).
Followup: Yeah... I even found links to my site from porn sites... Guess we have to spend weeks with the disavow tool.. In hopes that google will take te penalty down. What tool have you used to discover the backlinks? I will need it...
I don't see the spammy footer link on the 1st one. The page title is "useful web tools" and we have a link in the body part... I don't understand.
Also, what makes you think a blog roll is always "spammy"? The second one seem to be a blog about ASP.NET, the author recommending our software... There are plenty of review people post about our software: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVuB3oGr5pw here's a video review of our Jitbit Crm for example...
.. but anyways, I guess you ARE right, we do have to disavow all these links and contact webmasters so they remove it. Not sure if this the seo-guys we hired who screwed us up, or the result of negative seo (unlikely, but who knows)
PS. feels kinda uncomfortable when everyone's investigating my site, my backlinks, you know my name, my blog, even my home address from whois records, but I know nothing about you. Just some "uts_" guy on HN. Justsayin... It's like you're naked on a scene, everyone sees you, but you see nothing because of the lights :((
Are you guys able to check that on a site by site basis internally? Like, did you just look up his site and there was a flag or something similar that only you can see that lets you know Penguin got him?