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Author META Tag
pageoneresults




msg:3831023
 5:09 am on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

If I told you that I just found a couple of search results where the person's name being searched was only mentioned in an Author META Tag, what would you say?

Ya, I couldn't believe it either but the proof is in the pudding as they say. I've been using that Author META Tag for as long as I can remember. If you wish to pass WAI-A Validation, the Author META Tag is mandatory.

Do you use it?

No, there are no links pointing to that page with the author's name either.

 

Bentler




msg:3831032
 5:35 am on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use the author tag where I work, it's our standard/convention... besides accessibility, it's helpful in tracking down the right people to fix or update their stuff.

lokesh




msg:3831035
 5:49 am on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ya sure "Author META Tag is mandatory" but it is useful for SEO point of view.

Quadrille




msg:3831109
 9:04 am on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't use it for validation, I use it because idiot copyright thieves usually help my case by leaving it intact!

Until today, I'd said it was SEO neutral; no harm, no benefit - but perhaps I was a little hard on the poor thing!

But which search engine found them? I've never noticed an author tag in my results.

pageoneresults




msg:3831220
 12:57 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

But which search engine found them?

Google

I've never noticed an author tag in my results.

You won't see it. That is what caused me to go digging and where I found the name reference in the Author META Tag, that was the only place.

Bentler




msg:3831231
 1:32 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen similar results in Google based on meta keywords not found on the page--it seems Google masks out code and indexes all discretionary content in a page. I've also seen stems and synomyms that aren't on a page at all return it in G (such as place name abbreviations), but that's a different matter.

KevinBoss




msg:3831359
 3:54 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice find, will have to test.

tedster




msg:3831566
 7:08 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

PageOne - what does Google's cache version of that url you found in the results say for the critical keyword? I assume there's no on-page highlighting, so does the top frame say "only found in links pointing to..."?

pageoneresults




msg:3831579
 7:20 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

PageOne - what does Google's cache version.

Heh! I knew that was coming.

<meta name="robots" content="noarchive" />

tedster




msg:3831598
 7:44 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've had a little private chat with PageOne, and located some anchor text on another website that is a more likely cause of this SERP, in my opinion.

londrum




msg:3831600
 7:44 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

the page might have ranked because he had some incoming links mentioning his name. it might not have had anything to do with the author tag.

pageoneresults




msg:3831603
 7:48 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yup, I got spanked! There is this lonely ole' link reference of just the name sitting out there. The destination page is void of any content other than some metadata. That one link reference was all it took.

That still doesn't stop me from continuing to follow WAI-A protocol and use the META Author Tag. :)

tedster




msg:3831604
 7:50 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Guess we posted at about the same time, londrum. After some detective work, we discovered that indeed, anchor text is in play here.

Thanks to PageOne for letting me research this. Even though we found an alternate explanation, it's always good to remember that Google is continually experimenting, looking for new relevance signals.

londrum




msg:3831634
 8:23 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

we all got excited for a minute because we thought we could improve our rankings.
guess it's back to the drawing board again

Receptional Andy




msg:3831635
 8:25 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

You had me running around checking out author meta elements for a while there ;)

I don't know if the element is in wide enough use, but if Google did decide to use it, I could imagine something like the attribution you see above Google book results.

phranque




msg:3831902
 2:35 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

i still haven't found a reference that indicates any wai guidelines for the meta author tag.

JAB Creations




msg:3832034
 8:00 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Meta description, keywords, language, and robots are required for WAI AAA compliance. Only some of the pages on Version 2.8 of my site pass this though I've been making the effort to ensure all pages on Version 2.9 will be WAI AAA compliant but it's not an easy feat!

There is a P3P validator however it's a commercial product and you can only validate a domain once a minute. Since we can't post links and it doesn't show up on the first page on Google I'll simply recommend finding it in the tools menu of Chris Pederick's Web Developer toolbar for Firefox. :)

- John

pageoneresults




msg:3832052
 8:53 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I still haven't found a reference that indicates any wai guidelines for the meta author tag.

You know, I may be mistaken on the validation requirement. The tool that I used regularly is no longer available (Watchfire) and I could have sworn there was a statement in the validation reports about the META Author Tag. I cannot locate any specific reference to it and validation. But, I can find plenty of references to the suggestion for its use. Does that count? ;)

I think I may have been confusing META Language. But, if you are using those elements the way they should be, you will most likely have META Author Tags there to refine the document further. In addition to using the ADDRESS Element.

Here is some backup for the META Author Tag from the "suggestive" standpoint.

Metadata for Accessibility
[hisoftware.com...]

Metadata for Accessibility
Checkpoint 13.2 of the W3C accessibility guidelines states that you should provide metadata to add semantic information to pages and sites.
You should include author name, company rights, type of content, etc.

Guideline 13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.
[w3.org...]

13.2 Provide metadata to add semantic information to pages and sites. [Priority 2]
For example, use RDF ([RDF]) to
indicate the document's author, the type of content, etc.

And then we have this current test which presents the Failures in the area we are discussing. Based on what I'm seeing, the Author Element is not part of the mix.

Rule: 13.2.2 - Documents are required to use META elements, that are defined as required, in Head section.
* Failure - Document does not contain a META element with the required name: description or description does not have a 'content' value.
* Failure - Document does not contain a META element with the required name: keywords or keywords does not have a 'content' value.
* Failure - Document does not contain a META element with the required name: language or language does not have a 'content' value.

Okay, so pageone got put on the carpet twice in one topic. Can I blame it on age? ;)

Aw heck, I might as well go and resurrect the META Revisit-After since we're discussing Metadata. :)

P3P Validator: Since we can't post links and it doesn't show up on the first page on Google.

W3C P3P Validator
[w3.org...]

Does the W3C P3P Validator provide the data you get from that other validator you mention? The P3P was put to rest due to insufficient support.

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