As Yoast rightly pointed out, author tags are not necessarily a new Facebook feature. However, few people seem to be aware of them. So much so, Yoast was inundated with a spate of modification requests to his popular WordPress SEO plugin, despite the fact that this functionality had been in place for two years.
Whether you’re an author, journalist, writer, or just trying to position yourself as an authority within a particular field, Author Tags should be an essential part of your strategy when building your personal brand online. Not only do they provide you with attribution on Facebook, but they can also help to build and sustain your readership.
They are primarily a tool for individuals, but they can also provide benefits to businesses too. For example, they are a great way to give your company’s blog more exposure. If you have ten employees blogging for you, and they all share their articles on Facebook, you can dramatically increase your reach by increasing their followers.
What are Facebook Author Tags?
So let’s go back to basics. What exactly are Facebook Author Tags?
They’re part of Facebook’s OpenGraph Protocol, which is one of several ways in which you can integrate your website with Facebook. The OpenGraph Protocol is the process of extracting certain elements of data when a link is shared. It allows you to choose a preferred image, title, and description. The Author Tag is an additional option.
Now you know about them, you’ll probably start to notice them popping up in your timeline a lot more. What you may also notice is that sometimes the author’s name is a clickable blue link, but other times it’s grey. When the link is blue, people will be able to click through to your personal profile or page. Author Tags activate this feature.
Another feature, which won’t be immediately apparent, is that they encourage people to follow you – but only once someone has read your article. After having read your post and returned back to the news feed, your article will re-appear with a “Follow” or “Like” button below:
If you want to link back to your Facebook profile, you must enable the “Follow” feature. People who follow your account will then be able to see anything you share publicly. This doesn’t mean you have to make your whole life public; you can still choose to share personal updates with just your friends or friends of friends. To enable this feature, go to “Settings”:
And select “Everybody”:
Next you need to tell your website who you are on Facebook.
How to Add Author Tags in WordPress
If you use WordPress as your CMS, the easiest way to add Author Tags is with Yoast’s WP SEO plugin. Firstly, you need to enable OpenGraph, which you can find on the Social settings page:
Next, navigate to your user profile and enter the Facebook profile or page URL you want to link to. This feature isn’t designed to link back to your business page, so pages are probably only appropriate if you are a journalist or writer who manages a page about your professional self, like Owen Jones.
If you have multiple authors writing for you, they will each need to complete the second step.
How to add Author Tags Manually
Not on WordPress? It’s still fairly straightforward to add the tags manually. All you need to do is a little bit of extra code. Update the following with your unique Facebook links, then copy and paste into the <head> section of your website.
Finally, to check it’s working correctly, test your URLs with Facebook’s debug tool.
With Google removing their authorship feature last year, Author Tags are a great way for you to continue to get exposure for your writing. They are quick and easy to implement, but if you need any help integrating them with your website, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.