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I'm building a WordPress site that uses the Yoast Plugin.

Yoast adds the following meta tag:

<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/xxxxxxxxxx">

The content attribute contains the user/author's Facebook profile. Is this best practice or can I change this to the author's blog archive URL? Would there be any negative impact of changing the default behaviour?

I'm assuming it defaults to the Facebook profile as this is part of their Open Graph Protocol.

Looking at https://ogp.me, I can see article:author links to https://ogp.me/#type_profile. This section discusses using a Namespace URI. This indicates to me I can use any URL I wish, but wondered why Yoast defaults to a Facebook profile.

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There is no formal rule that says article:author must be a Facebook account.

This is RDF metadata, also referred to as microdata by Google. RDF is an information language to create a web of semantically linked nodes (hence: semantic web). A node is defined by its Unique Resource Identifier (URI), which is the same as a URL. In RDF, formal schemas (ontologies) are defined that can be used to denote nodes.

The article entity you are referring to is denoted with the Schema.org ontology, as a https://schema.org/Article. The URI for article:author must point to an https://schema.org/Organization or a https://schema.org/Person.

Let's say you have your own personal blog website, with a personal page about you. You may then add the URI to your personal page in the article:author property, like: https://johndoe.net/about-me. If you want everything to be correct, given the Schema.org ontology, you would then denote this about-me page with the correct RDF-metadata, so that this page is a schema:Person. In my personal web page I have it like this:

<article typeof="schema:Person" class="profile">
  <span property="schema:familyName" class="rdf-meta-hidden">John</span>
  <span property="schema:givenName" class="rdf-meta-hidden">Doe</span>
  <img src="/my/personal/picture">
  <p>My bio...</p>
</article>

What Yoast does, it simplifies the adding of this metadata, by choosing for the user how to fill it in. Technically, you may simply fill in any URI that is a schema:Person.

This RDF metadata / microdata is used by Google for rich and highlighted search results: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/article. Using it can benefit the SEO.

Concluding: Try search for what Google exactly does with the article:Author property, in which snippet or highligted search result it is used, and what the criteria are. You can use https://search.google.com/test/rich-results?utm_campaign=sdtt&utm_medium=message for analysing microdata on a page.

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  • Fantastic answer, thank you. This has given me some ammo to do some more research.
    – Sam
    Aug 2, 2021 at 9:04

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