Today we’re beginning to support authorship markup—a way to connect authors with their content on the web. We’re experimenting with using this data to help people find content from great authors in our search results.
We now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page. An author page describes and identifies the author, and can include things like the author’s bio, photo, articles and other links.
If you run a website with authored content, you’ll want to learn about authorship markup in our Help Center. The markup uses existing standards such as HTML5 (rel=”author”) and XFN (rel=”me”) to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web. If you’re already doing structured data markup using microdata from schema.org, we’ll interpret that authorship information as well.
We wanted to make sure the markup was as easy to implement as possible. To that end, we’ve already worked with several sites to markup their pages, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNET, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and others. In addition, we’ve taken the extra step to add this markup to everything hosted by YouTube and Blogger. In the future, both platforms will automatically include this markup when you publish content.
We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.
While authorship markup has vast implications for how search engines, like Google, organize information on the web, it will undoubtedly have a more significant impact in areas where authorship matters. And, not surprisingly, authorship matters in the legal profession.
As machines, like search engines, continue to become better at understanding the meaning of information on the World Wide Web, the more results in search engines will be organized around real-world meaning.
In the context of authorship, information in search results is moving in the direction of organizing data around you as an author. Therefore, it becomes even more important that you are easily identified, and receive attribution for, the content that you create online. And of course, that you are able to communicate that the “the machines.”
This is also one more reason that authentic web content is so important. Spamming the web with shallow content that is not attributed to you will not have the same impact. On the other hand, identifying yourself as the author of shallow content is likely to decrease your credibility, not only with search engines, but more importantly, with search users, aka, your potential clients.
So how do you use authorship markup? Look to Google’s Help Center for answers:
Authorship markup uses the rel attribute (part of the open HTML5 standard) in links to indicate the relationship between a content page and an author page.
When Google has information about who wrote a piece of content on the web, we may look at it as a signal to help us determine the relevance of that page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, though, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality.
A content page can be any piece of content with an author: a news article, blog post, recipe, review, short story …
An author page is a page about a specific author. For example, a news site might feature an author page for each of its contributors. The author page should be on the same domain as the content page.
To identify the author of an article or page, include a link to an author page on your domain and add rel=”author” to that link, like this:
Written by Matt Cutts.
This tells search engines: “The linked person is an author of this linking page.” The rel=”author” link must point to an author page on the same site as the content page. For example, the page http://example.com/content/webmaster_tips could have a link to the author page at http://example.com/authors/mattcutts. Google uses a variety of algorithms to determine whether two URLs are part of the same site. For example, http://example.com/content, http://www.example.com/content, and http://news.example.com can all be considered as part of the same site, even though the hostnames are not identical.
Linking multiple profiles: rel=”me”
An author page on a site can often link to other web pages about the same author, such as the author’s home page or a social networking profile. To tell Google that all these profiles represent the same person, use a rel=”me” link to establish a link between profile pages.
Say that Matt is a frequent contributor to http://example.com. Here’s a link from his http://example.com author page to the page he maintains on http://mattcutts.com:
Read more about Matt
In turn, Matt’s profile on http://mattcutts.com points back to his author page on http://example.com, like this:
Matt has also written lots of articles for the Foo Times.
The reciprocal rel=”me” links tell Google that the profiles at http://mattcutts.com and http://example.com/contributors/mattcutts represent the same person.
Testing profile and publication links
The rich snippets testing tool lets you check your markup and make sure that Google can extract author and data from your page.
If you have additional questions about how authorship markup might impact your web presence, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help.