Posted by Sam Battin, Senior Natural Search Specialist
Got a blog? Use Google’s “Author” Tag!
The new “Author” tag from Google is a great idea that has the potential to really help content producers (not to mention Google’s position in the search market). In a nutshell, if you create written content for the Web, you can “tag” your work by including Google’s new “Author” tag in your code. Tagging will help Google keep track of your work, increase your visibility, and reduce the opportunity for spammers to scrape your content.
Content scraping is a big problem for both content creators and search engines, so Google’s new authorship initiative comes as a welcome relief. Very often, unscrupulous site owners will get bored emailing 100,000 people at a time about a new site for low-cost sneakers, and they will decide that their own site needs content so it can appear in Google search results. This wastes searchers’ time.
Being typically uncreative, spammers would rather spend eight hours trying to steal than one hour learning how to write. This leads them to use their awesome CTRL+C skills to take other people’s content and put it on their own sites, thereby giving them a chance to rank for keywords. Spammers have also added a twist to CTRL+C; they will copy other people’s content and then run it through a computer program that develops a synonym for each word in the article. Presto! New content!
For example, a spammer might take a sentence like
Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.
And the thesaurus program will spit out the following:
Currently being we cold dislikes synthesize good hot by this York heat.
The spam sentence makes no sense, but it doesn’t matter; it’s similar to a sentence, and it’s new content. Believe it or not, this is enough to get visibility on certain long-tail searches. (For that matter, this is part of what Google’s recent “Farmer” and related algorithms were developed to solve, identifying scraped and “thesaurused” (maybe it’s a word) content.)
So how can the “Author” tag help? Here’s how.
First, you should write some content. Anything original will do; the more useful it is, the more likely it is that people will link to it.
Second, you should create a Google+ profile. This will help Google more fully take over the world, yes, but this will also help you identify the content that belongs to you. On your Google+ profile, go to “Edit Profile” and click “Links”. This will open a control that allows you to input links to content that you’ve written. You can also check the box if the content is about you specifically, e.g. a biography page:
Once you’ve got the links up on your Google+ profile, you can add an “Author” tag on the URLs that you named in the links. This “Author” tag will identify your Google+ profile page, as shown below:
This reciprocal notification establishes a connection between the piece you wrote and your official Google+ profile. In the ephemeral world of the Web, having these links set up is a good claim on authorship for your piece. Even if your work gets scraped and re-published on another site, your Google profile will still point to the original page for the content, and your original content will have the best chance at visibility.