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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.
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.
That still doesn't stop me from continuing to follow WAI-A protocol and use the META Author Tag. :)
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.
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.
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. :)
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
Here is some backup for the META Author Tag from the "suggestive" standpoint.
Metadata for Accessibility
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.
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
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.