As a web designer, I do my best to make my websites hit the top of the search engine results. Let me tell you, it is a battle, especially when the rules are always changing! It used to be that all you had to do was input a “title”, “keywords”, and a “description” in your meta tags of each of your web pages. It’s not that way anymore. Of course, the meta tags are still important… don’t leave them out! Some of the larger search engines are not using them as they used to but the smaller engines do. Now, search engines such as Google, read the content of the pages we write and the bots bring that content back and disseminates. This allows for better results when you do a search.
I already use the rel=”author” in my meta tags, but found out recently that it can also be used in sharing links too. Use the rel=”author” attribute in your content. That’s right! Apparently, this “rel” attribute is part of the open HTML5 standard, so we’ll see more about its uses.
Ok, let me tie this together.
Have you gone to Google Search, typed in your search parameters, and when the results get back, you notice someone’s picture next to some of the results? And, as you sit there, “Oooing and Ahhing,” you begin to wonder, hey… how did they get their picture there beside the search results! They did it by using the rel=”author” attribute within their links. When used properly, the result shows your profile beside the articles and blogs that you author.
How do you do that?
Well, I’ll do my best to help you understand, because unfortunately, it can be a bit of a hit or miss as to whether your content gets accepted or not.
Google is piloting the display of author information in search results to help users discover better content. To identify the author of a blog or article, Google checks for a connection between the content page, an author page, and a Google Profile. Pretty cool, don’t you think!
So, what’s the advantage?
If you or your client is a content creator, this is a very important feature. It allows you indirectly to claim authorship or your own content in Google search results.
Personally, I enjoy seeing the profile pictures of the author who wrote an article that I have read.
Now here’s the kicker! In order for this to happen, you need a Google Profile. Make sure that your profile has a good, recognizable headshot as your profile picture. Add all your statistics that you want the public to know. From there, you must then verify authorship of your content by associating it with your profile. Of course, as with everything Google, there are no guarantees that your profile will show in web searches and news results. As I said, they are just beginning this process, but I’m already beginning to see results.
Ok, so show me how already!
There are two ways to link to your Google Profile.
The first method is using the rel=”author” attribute and it’s a two step process.
Note: With websites or blogs that I build, I insist the client MUST HAVE an “About” page! If you don’t have one, Shame on you! Now create one and all will be forgiven! Once this is done, link the “About” page of your blog or website to your Google Profile.
Here is one example taken from Google Webmaster’s Pages:
- You write an article for a website, which also has an author page on the same website.
- The article should link to your author page on the same site using rel=”author”, like this example:
<a rel=”author” href=”http://www.hafnerdesigns.com/about/”>Heidi Hafner</a>
- Your author page should link to your Google Profile using rel=”me”, like this example:
<a rel=”me” https://plus.google.com/114132316683908733932 “> <img src=”//www.google.com/images/icons/ui/gprofile_button-16.png”> </a>
Your Google Profile should link back to your author page on the website. When you add this link to your profile, be sure to check the “This page is specifically about me” checkbox. This creates a rel=”me” link to that author page.
2. You write an article for a website, and you have no author page on that domain.
- The article should link to your Google Profile using rel=”author”, like this:
Check out <a href=”https://plus.google.com/114132316683908733932″ rel=”author”>Heidi’s Google+ profile</a>.
- Your Google Profile should link to back to the website’s home page.
Lastly, Google gives us a link where we can test our markups. This tool only does a single page at a time.
Now, let’s go set up our Google Profiles!
… more later!