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Author Highlighting Is a Google Must for Bloggers

Today’s post may seem like an under the hood, techie kind of tip, and it is that, but it also outlines something content producers and bloggers need to be aware of.

In an effort to place more emphasis on the original authors of content and perhaps further eliminate duplicate content, Google has begun placing great emphasis on an anchor text attribute – rel=”author”

An anchor text attribute is just more information contained in the HMTL code of a link. In this case the use of the author attribute in conjunction with content, such as a blog post, signals search spiders that this is the original author.

So a link to my about us page with attribute would look like this:
a href="http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/about/" rel="author"John Jantsch

The reward for using this attribute has started showing up in search results with the image of the author placed to the right of the results in a growing number of instances. The Google author program kicked off formally a while back with a limited number of well-know bloggers and journalists and is slowly rolling out to others. (Here’s the official Google announcement)

The images Google is showing next to the selected articles are drawn from Google Plus profiles and link back to the author’s profile page. Some people have noted, incorrectly that this is a further extension of active Google+ users into the search results. The author program was actually in place prior to Google Plus and drew originally on the old Google personal profiles. In fact, some of the higher profile authors chosen have very limited Google+ activity.

author highlighting with rel author

Going forward a Google+ account and profile will be part of the deal for those that want to have their images included on original content, but use of the rel=”author” attribute in a very specific fashion is what will ultimately get your content chosen.

The video below, featuring Google spokesperson Matt Cutts, outlines the path Google hopes you’ll take to include the rel=author attribute.

Basically here are the steps:

  • You need to have a link on every page of content that points to the author’s about me page, on the same domain, using the author attribute in the link.
  • The author’s about me page should also point to their Google+ profile.
  • To close the loop, the author’s Google+ profile should point to the author’s about me page.

How to get the author attribute in your links

  1. Go back and put a byline on all pages with articles and add the link to your about me page
  2. Read more about various ways to implement from Google help
  3. On WordPress blogs – you have plug in options, but my advice is start with this post on author highlight from Yoast
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