What is rel=”Author”

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.

What is Google trying to achieve with Google Panda 2.2?

It’s fair to say that Google feels humiliated by the content farming system and is hitting back in the only way it knows how to – punish everything that resembles content generation, even if it’s really good content creation for a meaningful and legitimate reason.

They did this some time ago when they downgraded the potency associated with links back from press releases. Interestingly though, when Google launched the Vince update Press Releases became important once again – in that they are a good indicator or brand, branding and marketing.

I also have a sneaky suspicion that Google loves the Panda update, however when they launched it the update caused far too many waves for them, so, they’re introducing it one bit at a time giving webmasters and website owners the opportunity to make their website and link profile conform to the changed landscape.

Credit where credit is due, in the Whitehat SEO community there has been rumblings about this kind of content spam for the best part of a year (check out Aaron Walls thoughts on this, what’s more you’ve got to hand it to Google that they’re starting to get a handle on things.

I noticed after doing plenty of searching that the sites that are appearing higher up are generally the ones that are doing lots of original content or are at least the ones where original content links to.

Is Google Pandering to Proper SEO Companies or is this their demise?

OK – so I like to think of myself as a real search marketer, but everyone calls us SEOs however I’d like to at least be known as a good, ethical and honest SEO at that.

I’m also a bit skeptical about the future of the SEO agency as they are at the moment, (and let’s be honest, there are some real sharks and cowboys out there!), we’ll be talking much more about internet marketing agencies, it will be all about the package of building a better online brand for the client, whether that be through emails, pay per click, search engine optimisation, social marketing, affiliate marketing, online reputation management etc. There’ll also have to be some element of design involved there, in short we will be moving back towards the full service agencies from the divergence into separate agencies in the middle of the last decade. In essence Panda forces marketing companies to put more focus on what’s going on onsite rather than what’s happening offsite.

Should be stop being obsessed about the Panda update?

In a word, YES!!!! The search community’s obsession with Google most recent round of updates has to stop, by constantly talking about it we are all giving much more weight to the idea that we have to always focus on what Google wants us to do instead of what we should do for the best of our website’s visitors.

If content is king, then user experience is god.

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est. 2009

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