Using rel=”me” To Link Social Media Profile Pages

using rel-me to link to social media profile pages graphic

You have probably heard of and use the rel="nofollow" tag or microformat in links that you don’t want search engines following. These links to external sites that you don’t want Google and other crawlers to follow because they aren’t relevant to your site’s structure. There are certain links that should be marked as rel="me" in addition to "nofollow" that go to 3rd party sites. these are sites links to the actual profile page that are about the same person as the page at hand. Because you have a GitHub page or a Facebook Page that are about the same person they should be marked as rel="me" in the code.

As a bonus some of the popular social and third party sites you may have profiles on already have a place to add a link to your personal website. Some of these have the rel-me microformat markup in there code as well which results in a two-way link that is marked up in this way.  This results in a pretty good indication to webcrawlers that these two pages are about the same person. GitHub appears to have this and Twitter I have heard also uses this. You can check the source code on your profile page and examine the link it should have rel="me" probably along with "nofollow" and "ugc" (user generated content), some might not show immediately but after you have it in place on your site for a while it should populate on the other end. It acts as a verification as well, in that only someone that controls or has significant access to both accounts would be able to place a link with this microformat on a website.

So while Google, Bing, and other search engines might not take into account the microformat with regards to SEO and PageRank it is important because it shows the important relationship between the two pages (the page with the link and the page being hyperlinked to), that they are about the same person. don’t confuse this with the rel="author" tag, which is used to declare a particular article, blogpost, webpage is authored by the linked to person.

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You might think this is silly but a search engine or crawler doesn’t know that the link on your page is to your profile page or just a random link to someone else page, that is unless you let it know. Either with the the rel="me" microformat or some other way, usually some other markup such as json-ld or RDFa. But the rel-me microformat is fairly simple to add and can just be added as you would add nofollow, just put a space between them, you can add on more if you need them too.

Here is a post on how to add microformat markup to a navigation menu in WordPress as it is not immediately clear how to accomplish this at first glance. But very easy to accomplish after a quick option selection.