Yesterday on their search blog, Google announced the release of Authorship Markup, an attribute which publishers can tack onto link tags to help Google’s algorithm better connect authors and their content in search results. It’s a seemingly tiny tweak, but one that is actually key to helping better organize and join authors and their content on the web.
Many news sites have already instituted Author Pages, which aggregate articles written by an author onto one specific platform, making it easier for fans of those authors to find their work. The New York Times collects information about everything from events to businesses to its own reporters on their Topic Pages. Google’s Authorship Markup won’t change this process, but instead will help to better surface more relevant information about that author and their work in Google searches.
By adding a rel=”author” attribute to a link directed to an author or topic page, you indicate to search engines that the person on that author page is the same as the author of that article. While this isn’t the only information Google’s algorithm uses to provide relevant search results, it’s definitely a helpful tool for publishers looking for quick ways to improve their SEO.
According to Google’s Webmaster Tools, “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.”
Google has already teamed up with news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNET to help them add Authorship Markup to their author links. For more information on how you can use Authorship Markup, check out Google’s Webmaster Tools help section here.