Non-Supported Rel Link Attributes Do Nothing With Google Search

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The other day, John Mueller of Google tweeted something true but sarcastic and it seems some took it the wrong way. He said In case you’re curious, the rel=dofollow works on links. The thing is, it could have been any rel attribute, such as rel=cheese and it would be treated the same as rel=dofollow, Google would ignore the attribute.

The only attributes Google would recognize and do anything with are the supported link attributes, such as rel=nofollow, rel=sponsored, and rel=ugc. But rel=dofollow means nothing to Google, Google will just crawl it like the rel link attribute is not even there. Occasionally I stick funny things in my link attributes just to see if anyone would pick up on it, no one does.

After John tweet this, he had to then come back and clarify, as to not set some SEOs off to add dofollow to their HTML links.

Here are those tweets:

Just in case it wasn’t clear from all the replies here, using an unknown rel-attribute on links doesn’t do anything, and since the default behavior is to use links normally, this just treats links like links. You don’t need to use rel=dofollow. You can, but you don’t need to.

— johnmu is not a bard yet 🖇️🖇️ (@JohnMu) March 22, 2023

If you wanted to, you could go even further and use made-up attributes, like <p cheese=”good”>. This will – unfortunately for the robot – also be ignored. Technically you could now create a page to do something with CSS or JS with that, but I will know.

— johnmu is not a bard yet 🖇️🖇️ (@JohnMu) March 22, 2023

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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