There’s an old saying in the journalism and literary world: writers write because they like to see their name in print. Whether or not that old adage is actually true is irrelevant. Since the dawn of publishing, writers working in all media types have used bylines to give themselves all due credit, identify themselves to their regular readers, and build their professional brand. Typically, we see bylines in newspapers and magazines where they’re commonly used, but we may not notice them too often on the web. All of that is changing.
If you’re a site owner or a publisher of online content, you may already know that you have to give credit to those who write articles for your web pages. The old text-based byline at the end of an online article is a thing of the past. The new byline is a unique Google development that not only gives credit to writers of web content (by name and by linking to their personal Google+ page), but also serves to help readers and searchers discover new content in the search engine results pages. There are only a few things you need to do to set up authorship for your site, and we’ll take a look at those in this article.
There are only a few criteria for utilizing authorship and leveraging the power it has to help searchers discover content. First, any page tagged with the rel=”author” microformat should be a single article or single piece of unique content by one author. The page should end with the authors byline – using the same name as their Google+ page (meaning they should already have a Google+ page set up). Microformats, by the way, are simple markup tools that allow site owners to use a number of markup elements that tell search engine bots more about the content on their pages. You can read more about microformats at the Google Webmaster Tools page.
If your author-developed page meets the criteria above, you can set up authorship for your articles by using the rel=”author” tag. This is actually a two-step process. You use the rel=”author” microformat to link from your article to your author’s Google+ page. Then, have the author update the “Contributor To” portion of their Google profile and link back to the site. You can learn more about linking to Google+ by clicking here.
Once the authorship has been set up for your pages and writers, searchers can click the byline on any page to see more articles authored by the same writer. But, most importantly, the author’s Google+ profile will also show their contributions to your site, and their articles will also begin to populate in search engine results. Win-win!
This article is brought to you by Rank Fuse Interactive, which serves both businesses and agencies alike as a provider of search engine marketing (SEM) programs, including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC), social media marketing, content marketing, mobile web marketing, and search-friendly web design.