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Thread: Can Google follow javascript links

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    bogart's Avatar
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    Can Google follow javascript links

    Does Google follow javascript links? Many social bookmarking sites use javascript links and the industry considers these links as "no follow". However, a recent post at WMW discusses the topic as well as a recent blog entry on Forbes. The interesting part is that it now appears that Google is following some javascript links.

    On Friday, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Forbes that Google does indeed go beyond mere "parsing" of JavaScript. "Google can parse and understand some JavaScript," said the spokesperson.
    Read more here

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    It depends upon how the JavaScript links are configured. If the script contains a fully formed URL and is within the body tags, Google has been following those for a few years.

    I have not seen any evidence that they are executing JavaScript, so if the URL has to be assembled by the JavaScript, they probably cannot follow those links. I have also not seen them follow links in an external JavaScript file.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    trueschooled is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    Some SEO professionals would recommend staying away from Javascript. So they say no.

    But as the source says, Google goes beyond Javascript reading. So I think it depends on the gravity of the Javascript.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    I have also not seen them follow links in an external JavaScript file.
    I would say that they are definitely not following JavaScript in external files.

    There's some speculation that the new Caffeine algorithm is able to execute some JavaScript if all the code is embedded on the page.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trueschooled View Post
    Some SEO professionals would recommend staying away from Javascript. So they say no.
    There is a big difference between a search engine following JavaScript links and passing link juice or PageRank through them. There is plenty of evidence that Google follows some JavaScript links, but the the links do not pass link juice or PageRank. They are therefore essentially the same as nofollow links. "nofollow" is a bit of a misnomer. Most search engines do follow hyperlinks with the nofollow attribute, but they do not count the link for the receiving site, nor are they supposed to pass link juice.

    If I remember correctly, at one of the Search Engine Strategies conferences Google confirmed that they can follow some JavaScript links and that they do not pass PageRank.

    I am an SEO professional and I also recommend staying away from JavaScript links for general use because 1) it is not reliable for users due to browser issues, 2) most search engines do not read JavaScript, and 3) if you use JavaScript redirects incorrectly, they can be confused with JavaScript cloaking, which got thousands of sites banned several years ago due to the unsavory black hat tactics of an SEO firm called Traffic Power that was operating out of Las Vegas.
    Last edited by TopDogger; 22 July, 2010 at 17:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    There is a big difference between a search engine following JavaScript links and passing link juice or PageRank through them. There is plenty of evidence that Google follows some JavaScript links, but the the links do not pass link juice or PageRank. They are therefore essentially the same as nofollow links. "nofollow" is a bit of a misnomer. Most search engines do follow hyperlinks with the nofollow attribute, but they do not count the link for the receiving site, nor are they supposed to pass link juice.
    Even if the links are passing any juice, it's possible that the anchor text is crawled and the information is stored in the Link Log and Anchor Map

    Anchor tag indexing in a web crawler system

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    MrToad is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    I would think it depends on how the java is written...
    The real question is, do you want google to follow a link?
    If yes, I would just use a regular html link.
    Also, the easiest way to find out is to put a java link on your homepage to a new internal page that is ONLY linked via java and put a nonsense word on that page, and then see if google finds that internal page (search for the nonsense word). That would be your best answer, I think.

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    It depends, but generally it's not followed by Google
    Any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad.

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