Links In JavaScript & Flash: Damned If You Do & Damned If You Don't

Dec 19, 2008 • 7:52 am | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

A Google Webmaster Help thread asks, can Google read links in Flash files or JavaScript? The simple answer is yes, they can. But it is not that simple.

Some people want to know the answer to this question because they want to know if their content will be indexed or not. Some want the links in those files to be found, while some don't. In fact, years ago, if you did not want a search engine to crawl a link, typically a duplicate content page, you would use JavaScript. Now, you are no longer safe, you must nofollow the link or noindex those duplicate pages or take other action.

The thing is, Google won't always crawl links in JavaScript or Flash either. So if you want your links to be found, be safe and put them in standard html format. But if you don't want your links to be found, putting them in JavaScript or Flash won't guarantee that.

Top contributor, Webado said:

1) don't rely on discovery of text and links in flash or javascript - ensure proper html content and navigation are available as well.

2) don't rely on Google NOT discovering text and links in flash or javascript either if you don't want them to. Ensure robots are clearly disallowed from all such content, otherwise they can be really nosy :)

JohnMu of Google confirmed that post.

As you can see, in this case, your damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: December 18, 2008
 

Comments:

Michael Martinez

12/19/2008 06:09 pm

Yahoo! has been indexing Javascript links for years. Google has certainly had the ability to parse Javascript for years as well because they have been detecting sneaky Javascript redirects for years. The conditions for search optimization change over time. That's a natural consequence of the evolution of search technology and priorities.

diarmuid ryan

12/21/2008 07:16 pm

js links are followed on google, from what i've seen anyhow, in most cases

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