What is rel=author?
- Using rel=author indicates that a link is pointing to information about the author of a page or article.
- It establishes a link relationship between the page where it is found and the referenced document about the author.
The above code is basically saying...
- Here is a link to author-page.html
- author-page.html is about the author of this document.
"the author keyword indicates that the referenced document provides further information about the author of the nearest article element ancestor of the element defining the hyperlink, if there is one, or of the page as a whole, otherwise." 1
Where is it used?
It may be used on any webpage where the author wants to be credited for authorship.
To establish a relationship between a document and an author document.
Possible use of rel=author in ranking
Google used authorship in their search results to show images of the author a few years ago (they no longer do this).
There is much speculation that Google still uses authorship data as a ranking factor as they have a patent regarding this.
They do not explicitly state that rel=author is used for ranking, but it does make some sense that they could be.
Ways to use rel=author
The most common use of the author keyword is inside a standard HTML link. Example:
However, rel=author can be used inside a link element inside the head of a document as well. Example:
Another notable use of rel=author is when the "referenced document" is simply the email of the author. Example:
How I use rel=author on this site
I use rel=author on every page of this site.
I believe it to be a wise content protection best practice. While it may not exactly "protect" anything now, we do know that Google used this for a few years to identify authors and Google representatives have also stated that you should probably continue to use it.
I believe that regardless of one use case (example: Google) or another, as an author it is smart to relate your name to your writing.