Google is changing the web again. This time, they are asking webmasters to begin identifying authors in a way that allows:
- Google to track who is the author of content
- Google to track about the author pages (called profiles by Google).
- Authors to authenticate their profiles (author pages) on multiple websites.
If you are an author, this is fantastic… and if you are a content publisher, it’s even better because Google is now starting to look at who writes, not just the cold math behind an article.
To acknowledge an author, you use the HTML5 rel attribute in a link pointing to an “about the author” page on the same website like this:
Article written by <a rel="author" href="../authors/mikeseidle">Mike Seidle</a>
Because most authors have profile (about the author pages) on multiple websites, Google has a way to link them together. The first step is to put a link to the author’s website on the profile with a rel=”me” attribute like this:
<a rel="me" href="http://mikeseidle.com/about">Read more about Mike</a>
On the page mikeseidle.com/about, we have to insert a recriprocal link back to the above about the author page (profile) with the rel=”me” attribute:
<a rel="me" href="http://problogservice.com/authors/mikeseidle">How To Help Google Identify Authors of Content on Your Site</a>
Before all you search engine optimization experts get your hair on fire about reciprocal links causing bad things to happen to your page rank, here’s the link on Google’s Webmaster Tools that shows that it is required by Google to do a reciprocal link.
As of the time this post was written, most blogging software does not support the new author tagging features yet, so you’ll either have to write a plug in or embed your own links. I would expect to see support for author and profile tagging to be included in future versions of WordPress soon.