Do Nofollow Tags With Spaces Pass Link Value?

Mar 13, 2009 • 8:43 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

A WebmasterWorld thread asks an interesting question. If you have a space in the nofollow link attribute, does Google consider it the same as having no space? Let me explain.

A standard syntax for the nofollow attribute looks like this: <a href="http://www.site.com/page.html" rel="nofollow">Visit My Page</a>

But what if the programmer added a space between the no and follow, such as: <a href="http://www.site.com/page.html" rel="no follow">Visit My Page</a>

What do you think? Is Google or other search engines treating both the same?

I asked Google's Matt Cutts and John Mueller this question and they told me that currently they don't treat them the same. Currently, a nofollow with a space would pass link value. "The microformat is explicitly defined as rel="nofollow" (). I would not count on other rel-attributes having the same effect, even if they look similar at first glance," John told me.

However, Matt Cutts said this doesn't mean Google won't start treating them the same. Matt told me:

I'll have to check whether we flow PageRank through links specified with a space such as "no follow". You can bet that we'll run a test and consider adding support for it. We often add support for when webmasters appear to mess up their meta tags or robots.txt, but we think the intent is pretty clear. The idea is to help webmasters achieve their goals, not be nitpicky about syntax.

In short, currently nofollowed links with a space do not seem to without link value. But that clearly might change based on the usage out on the Internet.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Tony Ruscoe

03/13/2009 01:33 pm

Given that the space is used in attribute values to separate multiple values, I would absolutely say that "no follow" should not be treated the same as "nofollow" since one of its values is actually "follow" (if that makes sense).

christine

03/16/2009 01:23 pm

I am confused. Doesn't this Google guideline show a space in the instructions about adding nofollows??? (3rd paragraph) http://google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=96569

christine

03/16/2009 01:27 pm

Nevermind! I misunderstood where the space was located.

marc

03/17/2009 06:51 pm

very good point. i actually never thought of this. although i am sure google has thought of this already long ago.

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