rel=”Author” is a new tag introduced by Google in conjunction is with rel=”me” tag to help Google determine who is producing content on the internet.
Why have Google introduced these tags?
Google has introduced these tags as part of their new algorithm settings (Panda 2.2) which is all about trying to determine what content is good and what’s spam. Their intention is to work out which content is unique and original and which has been scraped.
There are other impacts of course – if this becomes the norm then there is also a threat to traditional article marketing, as Google will review the tags and not pass on as much link potency for those articles that are pointing back to an author related network.
In part this is also an answer to the problem of the social network factor where a single piece of work by an individual can appear to be reproduced in several different places because the accounts are all links together.
The tags will appear on Author tags on blogs and content (see the author link at the top of this content), they then link back to an onsite ‘Author’ page which then links out using the rel=”me” tag to a Google Profile page – which itself links back to the ‘Author’ page.
We’ll see how this improves rankings, if nothing else it should improve the standing of individual bloggers and create more of a brand around individuals.
For those of you who want to get in early visit: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=1229920 this is still in trial mode at the moment and Google are looking for people to take it up relatively early so they can test the system.