Good SEO is about keeping track of changes in the way search works, assessing the impact the are likely to have on SEO and take advantage by adapting to them. Very occasionally, Google will make a change which fundamentally alters the way an aspect of search works.
This month Google implementing a new rel=author tag which could do just that! This neat new feature that allows the owners of web pages and blogs to add the link to their pages to tell Google who originally wrote the content, allowing the persons profile to feature in the search results (SERPS) when their blog entry is listed. It also allows searchers to discover other posts this author may have written on other websites.
This could mark an important shift away from judging a page purely by it's content alone, as Google has been doing up to now. To set this up, you just need a Google+ account, and to follow these simple steps:
Link to your Google Plus profile from the page - you can do this either as a regular link in the body content with rel=author attribute set, as shown below:
<a href="[Google Plus Profile Link]?rel=author">Google Profile</a>
Or, you can choose to do this within the <head> section of the document as shown here:
(Being sure to replace [Google Plus Profile Link] with the URL of your profile page, for instance: <href="https://plus.google.com/103152109953788702971/?rel=author">)
Second, you need to Verify your Google profile. To do this, simply go to your Google+ profile click 'edit profile' click the Contributor To section and add your website's URL. You can use Google's rich snippets tool to preview the appearance of your profile and link as it will be featured in the search results page.
How will this impact SEO
There are a few ways this could affect bloggers and writers in future. For instance, we might see a change in how blog and news posts are ranked, taking into account this richer background of information about the individual writer. Currently, Google looks to the page and website to determine what level of authority the information has. If Google did take this into account, it would become possible for a prolific or well known blogger to bring more visibility to a young website (and domain) by guest posting on it.
If you chose to link all the different websites you contribute into your single Google Plus profile, this could make it easier for readers to discover what else you are involved in elsewhere on the web - and possibly becoming a small source of extra traffic to other websites you are involved in if one is particularly successful.
This move may also make it easier for Google to identify the original owner of content in the event of duplicate content or content theft. Google has been very good at identifying duplicate content and only listing the original article where possible. This extra information may also be helpful when the original owner of a block of content is unclear.
Speak to Simon Steed about any of the topics discussed this site.