Google’s recent announcement that it will begin to index the rel=”author” attribute is a significant change in helping define authorship for online content. For decades, authors have had to struggle with getting the recognition they deserve for the content they create. Unless a website provides the author’s information immediately after each article, the reader has little knowledge on where the content is coming from. Search engines have had an even harder time with telling the difference between who is writing content. Search engines have simply provided results based on the content itself. It appears that with the new rel=”author” attribute, content will now be searchable by those creating it. In other words, a search for the author John Doe will likely provide search results for the author along with results for the content that the author has written. This is a major move by Google to help provide better search results and more transparency in content ownership, and is a follow through with the most recent updates to their algorithm, giving original website content the priority in search results.
When adding their name to an article, an author has the option to either link their name to their own personal page or the about the author page. By adding the rel=”author” attribute to the link, the author will be telling Google the following: Follow this link, the name of the link is the author, and the page it leads you to is the author’s page. This attribute will help give credit where credit is due, by allowing authors to create a network of links all pointing to them as the creator. Additionally, Google has begun to index based on the rel=”me” attribute which is similar to rel=”author.” The attribute rel=”me” allows authors to add value to each link on their personal site. By adding rel=”me” to all links pointing to their articles, Google can tell that the author is putting a claim on the article that the link points to. Using both attributes can help authors expand their online exposure and will improve the search results when search engines index by both content and authorship.
How To Use These Tools
Both of these useful tools should be used together, but based on the possibility of abusing the rel=”me” attribute, it is suggested that more emphasis is given to the rel=”author” attribute, because it is harder to abuse. From a search engine perspective, the website hosting the content will have more authority when it points a link to the author’s page, because this means that the website hosting the content is validating the author. In order to abuse this attribute, someone will need access to the website content. Since not anyone can access the content, it will be more secure and will have a higher value of importance. Since anybody can use the rel=”me” attribute, it is likely that it will not stand high in importance within the Google search algorithm, but will have significant weight depending on the number of articles the author is claiming and how many reciprocal links they receive back from these articles. Although you don’t need to use both of these attributes, you will get a better result by doing so. If you only have the resources to focus on one of these attributes, focus on rel=”author.”
The following is what a rel=”author” link should look like:
<a href=”http://authorswebsite.com” rel=”author”>Author Name</a>
The following is what a rel=”me” link should look like:
<a href=”http://articlelink.com” rel=”me”>Article Name</a>
Improving the Internet as a Resource
These changes may give the internet more weight as a valuable resource for various forms of research. For many years, the internet has been looked down upon as a source for citation because of its lack of transparency. With the new changes, it allows those authors who wish to be given credit the ability to no longer remain in the shadows. This will allow researchers and editors the ability to reach the author if necessary. This will depend entirely on the participation of the author in this new system, and in the amount of time it will take for third party technologies to adopt the new attributes into the way they find and publish content.
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