Google recently announced they are beginning to support authorship mark-up—a technical way to enhance semantics by connecting authors with their content on the web. If you are a content marketer or run a website with authored content, you should look into this. Unless you don’t care about how your website performs in search engines.
Let’s start with a short introduction on semantic HTML or website code. You can look at HTML as the basic building blocks of a website. A web browser will interpret the website code and translate it into a readable and visually attractive web page. Basically, semantic HTML is the use of mark-up to strengthen the meaning of the information in web pages rather than merely to define how it looks.
One of the advantages of semantic HTML is that it allows you to make your website more accessible to visitors with visual impairments. Next to that, semantic coding is also beneficial for search engine optimization (SEO) because it provides search engine spiders with a clear structure of your site.
How can authorship mark-up influence your search engine rankings? When Google has information about who wrote a piece of content on the web, they may look at it as a signal to help determine the relevance of that page to a user’s query.
Technically, authorship mark-up uses existing standards such as HTML5 (rel=”author”) and XFN (rel=”me”) to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web. Read more about the implementation of authorship markup on Google Webmaster Central.
So what does this mean for your website? If you are an author, or have authors writing great content on your site, you should consider implementing authorship mark-up. It is just low-hanging fruit, ready for you to pick. Anyway, chances are that the next version of your content management system will include this. If you really want to be progressive, read about not so simple semantic html called Microformats.
But don’t forget, for SEO as well as your visitors good quality content is still king!