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Duplicate content can be an anger-inducingly emotive subject for some. If you have been a victim of plagiarism, you might well understand just how frustrating it is to have your original content appear beneath a duplicate in the search results. Whilst search engines can rely on various indicators, including when a page is first indexed and the relevant authority (inbound links etc.), mistakes still happen.
Equally, as an author on a specialist subject, you want to be able to build up relevance within your sector. Signals are already in place, linking names with specific posts across the Internet; however, it now appears that Google is going even further.
Today, Google has announced that it is to begin using a new authorship tag to better identify the relevance of a piece. Whilst it appears to be ostensibly designed to build relevance for particular writers by linking them to profiles within a site, it could certainly be used to help differentiate between original and duplicate content in the future.
Google are also attempting to make it easier for sites to link to an author’s external work and social profiles. So embedded within the coding of an author page you can now have a rel=”me” tag which links back and forth to all related content. This is a pretty useful tool for interlinking your work, particularly if you are a prolific writer and have a number of author profiles dotted around the wider web.
What impact this will actually have in real terms remains to be seen. However, it should certainly make guest blogging and other contributions far more integral to your (perceived) relevance as an authority figure and help improve rankings for those pieces. In turn, this should help when it comes to issues of plagiarism and duplicated content. If you’re an authority, have published work on a subject and have used the appropriate tags, Google should now be able to properly identify the originator and the duplicator.
To find out more about this new author tag, visit the Google Webmaster blog. Undoubtedly more information will appear over time and its effectiveness can be properly measured, but it will be something more to watch out for, particularly for journalists and popular bloggers.