Using rel=”me” to create a unified web presence

I see a lot of software developers that have multiple social media accounts. They use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a personal website or blog to promote themselves and their ideas. Many developers use these platforms to share tips on how to use products better or to share how they built a kluge for a problem that was baffling them. And some want to do that plus promote themselves to any interested job creator who comes knocking. Something I would call branding for software developers.

The question becomes though is how to create a unified web presence for all your social media sites? Specifically, how does the search engine know you are linking to another website or online identity attached to you? The answer lies on the rel=”me”.

The tag is designed to link different web properties together when they are owned by the same person. According to the Microformats.org rel=”me” page, the value is “used to indicate profile equivalence.” It is “used on hyperlinks from one page about a person to other pages about that same person.” This will then establish “a bi-directional rel-me link and confirming that the two URLs represent the same person.”

The end result will be identity consolidation. This is “the ability for a user to indicate that one or more identities, profiles, URLs across different sites all represent that same user.”

Many social media sites, including Twitter, have already started adding the rel=”me” tag to user’s profiles. However, many users do not link back to these sites from their own blogs and websites using this tag.

From my own experience I know this attribute cannot be added to flat URLs on about.me or URLs within LinkedIn. This is generally because these sites already include these tags. However, as you can see in the photo below, I have added the tag to my LinkedIn profile button on my WordPress.com website so search engines can make the link between my two sites that much easier.

rel="me" tag

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About Ken Cenerelli
I am a Programmer Writer, .NET Developer, Microsoft MVP - Visual Studio and Development Technologies, Public Speaker, Blogger, and Microsoft Azure Nerd. I blog regularly at kencenerelli.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

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