There's been a lot of talk about web markup and structured data lately and for good reason, search engines could do a much better job at discerning the amount of information available on the web if that information is tagged and ordered.The latest move is one of the most interesting, Google has now started supporting authorship markup, linking content on the web to its author, regardless of where that content appears.
"Today we're beginning to support authorship markup -- a way to connect authors with their content on the web. We are experimenting with using this data to help people find content from great authors in our search results," Othar Hansson, Software Engineer at Google, announced.
"We now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page," he added.
The markup uses several standards to attribute ownership. For links between article or content pages and the author's profile page the HTML5 rel="author" can be used.
To link multiple profile pages across the web, for example a Twitter profile to a Flickr account and to an About blog page, the XFN rel="me" can be used. Google also supports its own microdata format used by the recently launched Schema.org.
Google says that it's still experimenting with the feature and doesn't clearly specify if the author data is used for ranking, though it does say that it could be used for ranking.
The feature is now supported by a number of large publications, like The New York Times or The Washington Post. Google also enabled it for all Blogger and YouTube pages, so all existing content and everything that will be posted from now on will have author info added.