Activate “Rel=author” in 9 easy steps
Note: The steps below has been written for those using a WordPress platform.
The black hat siths and the evil spammers who clog up our internet (while calling themselves SEO’s) are causing Google problems. We know this. The link graph continues to be manipulated by said groups and Google must therefore find ways to initiate trust signals.
One such way is Social shares. Shares are great trust signals because nobody spams their Facebook friends. If they did, they wouldn’t have friends for very long as they would be directly accountable for the crap they dish out. Another trust signal that has been bouncing around the SEO industry for some time now is authorship combined with Google+, i.e., rel=author.
Having rel=author on your website allows any post that is written by someone to be identified in the SERPs. This was introduced as part of the rich snippet and is a welcome function of Google+. Rel=author not only indicates to the user that the author is the authentic person, but it is likely to have an algorithmic affect also. This is to say that old posts that have been greatly shared by users will likely boost the importance of any new post from that same author. This seems like a natural result from this ‘social reputation’.
This is the theory – all well and good. But getting rel=author on your site has proved to be tricky to say the least. Me and my SEO team have eventually found what we consider to be the best way to do it. Here is our version.
- Open your Google+ profile. Then click ‘edit profile’ > now click ‘about’ tab.
- Enter your email address under ‘work email’ (the same one you use within your WordPress account)
- Google + will send you an email for you to verify this.
- Under the same ‘about’ tab, write the desired WordPress URL in the ‘Contributor to’ section (WITHOUT the www, i.e. http://welshlink.wordpress.com)
- Open your WordPress account, and go to Appearance>Widgets.
- In the sidebar, you will need to paste your Google+ public profile URL. I placed mine inside a text widget.
- Go to Appearance>Theme options
- Here you can input HTML as part of the banner. Place href HTML here to include your email, e.g. <br><a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>Email me</a>
- Check Rich Snippet Testing Tool to check that rel=author is active on your site. The tool should indicate any reasons that the rel=author function might not be working fully. http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
A great article to read about the future of authorship and Google+ has been written by Tom Anthony of Distilled. If you’re following Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, you’ll probably have seen it because he’s tweeted on more than one occasion to emphasise its importance. Be sure to give it a read.
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