A Basic Quick-Reference Guide to Rel= Tags and What They Do
It’s becoming increasingly important to have a more in-depth understanding of HTML code and how to appropriately implement it to leave the necessary footprints to increase your firm’s authority. The most obvious example is, of course, Google Authorship which leaves more tools at our disposal to increase our visibility to both search engines and readers, with the obvious advantage for the latter of knowing that you’re reading the work of an established author. We’re going to cover the most commonly used ‘rel=’ tags in this article.
Some of these are going to be more useful than others in the short-term. However, the purposes of this article is to have a reference point on the Legal Circle website should members need this information in future. While we are going to cover the authorship rel tags, a more comprehensive guideline of their implementation is in the pipeline for next week.
What Is an HTML Rel Tag?
All links are not created equal. Rel (short for relationship) is an HTML attribute which allows search engine bots to differentiate in the relationship between a link given on a webpage and the page to which that link points. Sure, so you have a link on the page. But, what does that link mean, why is it there and what is the relationship between your page and the one linking to? Let’s start off with the rel tags for Google Authorship.
The Trio of Google Authorship Rel Tags and What They Mean
Everyone’s enthusiasm to embrace Google’s new authorship system has been matched only by our confusion. As mentioned above, an article is in the pipeline to go over different implementations of these tags but here’s a quick run-down of what they mean. It’s worth noting that since the announcement of Google Authorship in mid-2011, there have been many changes and revisions to the system and it’s highly likely that there will be more in between now and the years to come.
Authorship rel=”me” Tag – Used for Your Regular Contributor Profile Page on a Site
Use the rel=”me” tag on profile pages on websites for which you are a regular contributor. For example, if you look at the contributors to the Circle of Legal Trust, here is where you should see a rel=”me” tag. A reciprocal link must come from your Google+ profile under the contributors section to solidify the fact that you are a contributor to this website and you as the author verify this fact.
Authorship rel=”author” Tag – For your Article Contributions to Other Websites
The rel=”author” tag is to be used on content which you have written and which is published on another website. This is usually the website where you are not necessarily a regular contributor but which has posted your content nonetheless and which may have multiple authors.
Authorship rel=”publisher” Tag – For When Your Brand is the Publisher of a Website
The rel=”publisher” tag is used for companies. Over the years, employees may come and go but the company and its content will always remain. This is to be used on websites which are owned by a given lawyer or firm and will also include the Google business places results prominently on the top-right-hand-side of the SERPs. This tag is for business G+ profiles.(Is also ‘sort of integrated’ with schema which pertains to the mentioned top right of the SERPs)
The rel=”follow” and rel=”nofollow” Tags – Whether or Not to Pass on Link Juice
The rel=”follow” and rel=”nofollow” tags are probably the most commonly-known and discussed rel tags on the Internet. The latter nofollow attribute basically means that while a link may be present on your page, it should carry no weight (or vote of confidence) from you. The former following link does the opposite, and is standard for any link without denying following attribute.
<a href="http://circleoflegaltrust.com/" rel="nofollow"> Legal Circle</a>
This allows the mechanism of having a link (which is essential seen as a vote of confidence by Google in the majority of situations) to be present on the page without the author of that page necessarily giving a vote to the recipient of the link. If ever you are writing an article, for example, and wanted to include source which perhaps you disagreed with and did not want to give them any of your link juice, the nofollow attribute might be a good one to include in your HTML code.
The rel=”voted-for” Tag – An Unused Rel Tag That Fell by the Wayside
Several years ago, the rel=vote-for tag was being discussed as a the possible tool for deciding whether or not the link you to include an article would be a vote of confidence or not. While there was some speculation as to whether or not this tag would become standardised as part of Google’s algorithm, it seems to have fallen by the wayside. There is very little information on this redundant tag around the web, but it looks like nofollow was adopted as an easier way to include a link without casting a vote.
<a rev="vote-for" http://circleoflegaltrust.com/voteforus" title="Vote for the Circle!">Do it!</a>
<a rev="vote-against" http://circleoflegaltrust.com/voteforus" title="Don't vote for the Circle!">Don't do it!</a>
The rel=”enclosure” Tag – For a Link to Downloadable Material
Using this rel tag in your link indicates that it refers to a downloadable content such as a movie, PDF or MS Word file. It also indicates that the content should be cached, so if a visitor comes back, they can view it immediately rather than waiting for it to download again.
<a rel="enclosure" href="labs.google.com/papers/gfs-sosp2003.pdf">Google File System</a>
The rel=”license” Tag – For When You’re Using Licensed Content
A good example of when to use this tag includes is when using the Creative Commons license. It essentially lets search engine bots know that the licence for the content of your page can be found at the link location.
<a href=http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ rel="license">cc by 2.0</a>
The rel= “tag” Tag – One Which Should Now be Avoided Due to Recent Panda Updates
Using this tag means that the link refers to a tagging system of some kind. It is the belief of Michael Ehline that tags and the use thereof may invoke a Panda pull-down of your website. That said however, the launch of Google’s tag manager may change things. If you’re reading this looking to understand how the ‘rel=tag’ works, it’s worth checking the current situation with regards to tags and SEO before using it.
<a rel="tag" href="http://circleoflegaltrust.com/seo/latest">