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Authorship Matters – Author Rank Markup: Semantic Guidance

I’ve been attempting to evangelize for authorship, since I’ve always been a big believer in content production and work with editorial teams consistently. Interesting to note that none of the writers or editors I’ve spoken with have heard of authorship markup and that they often question the value of author rank to them. “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM) seems to dominate initial conversations and I understand that. Content producers prefer to be judged by their audience before worrying about search engines.

I think it odd that Google doesn’t evangelize authorship with writers, editors and online publishers in a more visible way. SEO’s are carrying that torch now, because we are the first point of reference for all things search. Unless the editorial team has an SEO copywriter among them.

I’ll be making the case among content production types to show benefits to authors of being recognized and properly attributed. The benefit of protecting against content theft is probably be on the top of the list for writers looking for the WIIFM. “Why Use Rel=Author?” Benefits to writers includes:

  • Gathering all your content in search result page
  • All rel=Author Content in search results points to Authors’ Google Profile
  • Click Through is higher on attributed articles
  • Lends authority and credibility to Authored posts
  • Reduced risk of plagiarized content outranking yours
  • Author provided photo appears beside search results

Seems great – how do you do it? This is where writers will stop and head to engineering or back to SEO for help making it happen in the code. A suggestion to visit Google Profiles page to create the author profile, where writers will add their own photo and provide links to places they contribute content. Then visit Google Profile Button Page where you’ll get the code to add to the author blog or to their bio page at your company.

Now comes the fun part for writers – once Google has re-indexed the pages you’ve added that code to – authors will see their photo start to show up in search results.

There will be roadblocks and stalls as writers find satisfactory photos or find it difficult to get external sites that publish their content to add the “Rel=Author” tags to their articles or blog posts – but it will eventually be made simpler as authorship plugins become more common for all platforms and third-party tools solve coding challenges for engineering teams looking for scalable ways to incorporate rel=author on large sites. Until then – SEO needs to help writers get authorship credit.

Below are a couple of Google Videos explaining authorship markup. This is important to Author Rank and the result is worth learning how to implement.

Mike Valentine