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Knock-out Search Spam with rel=Author

One of the most problematic and challenging issues on the Internet these days is search engine spam. It's no secret that the Internet is literally filled with spam. Search engine spammers generate cheap, meaningless content to lure unsuspecting users into their websites by targeting popular or low competition keywords. These websites are typically low quality, filled with annoying advertisements, and often more sinister in nature - installing malware or tracking software onto the user's computer.
Companies like Google have spent countless dollars trying to fight search spam. Search engines use complex algorithms that are designed to filter out spam by identifying black hat tricks like keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and high bounce rates. While these methods are often effective in dealing with spam - they are not the total solution.
In the last few years search engines have been employing the use of "rel=author" tags to identify trusted authors, who's content is in turn rewarded with more prominent rankings in the search results. Google, for example, makes it easy for users to pick out trusted content by displaying authorship information directly on the results page. If you've ever seen the author's portrait displayed next to the link description on Google, you know what I'm talking about. This article will briefly cover the facts: How effective is rel=author in dealing with search spam, and how can content providers use and benefit from it?

How effective is rel=author in fighting search engine spam?

Most SEO experts know that about 50% of users will click on the very first ad, and roughly 75% percent of users will choose something in the top 3. This is important to understand, because it means that we can cut out the vast majority of spam content by simply ensuring that it does not appear as any of the first few choices. rel=author allows authors to register and verify their identity with the search engines, and label their content using author tags. In turn, the search engines reward verified authors with higher-than-normal rankings. This pushes unverified content farther down the list, making the user less likely to encounter spam. (Spammer's aren't usually in a hurry to identify themselves)

How can content producers use and benefit from rel=author?

Using authorship tags is extremely easy, and the extra effort involved is worth it's weight in gold. Anybody who's ever written for the web knows what a challenge it can be to generate exposure, and finding readers is usually the biggest challenge. Search engines are in the business of providing their users with the content they're looking for, and by properly identifying yourself and your content - you've got a massive advantage over spammers. Besides providing an advantage in the search engines, having a public author profile makes it easier for your dedicated readers to find and enjoy the rest of your verified content. Google uses it's Google+ system in combination with domain control and email validation to verify authors. While the process is beyond the scope of this article, A step by step guide to verifying authorship on Google can be found here:
Fighting search spam has undoubtedly become easier since the introduction of rel=author, and both content consumers and producers have benefited from it in a massive way!
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Friday, 04 December 2020
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