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Dear +Pierre Far 

Posted in: General by Richard Hearne on February 3, 2015
Internet Marketing Ireland

Dear +Pierre Far 

I hope you don't mind me asking a question related to Googlebot rendering, as you discussed in this blog post:


My question is: if a blog renders comments via JS, and the rendered HTML includes followed links, should we be concerned about these links. Historically JS could be used to shield against comment spam and spam links.

To put this in context, I'm looking at a site which renders all comments via JS, but Google's cache (I understand the cache isn't always an appropriate proxy) shows all the comments and links in the text only version.

Is Google passing signals across these links?

Thanks in advance if you can help clarify.

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  1. If you're worried about any link, you can add a rel=nofollow on it regardless of how the link is generated. So to take a very simplistic JS example, this link will be nofollowed:

    document.write('<a href="https://example.com/" rel="nofollow">example</a>');

    Comment by Pierre Far — February 3, 2015 @ 12:28 pm

  2. Hi +Pierre Far 

    Thanks for that.  I'd love to be able to support such a change recommendation with some reasoned evidence behind making the change.  Right now all I can say is that I can see the links in the cache, but cant say if Google wants us to take the same care with JS rendered links as HTML rendered links.

    I understand it may not be easy for you to comment, but can you say anything about status of JS-rendered links appearing in cache (text-only) pages?

    It may sound trivial to add nofollow, but on large production sites it can take a lot of stakeholder convincing to get such changes above the line.

    Your help is appreciated!

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 3, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  3. +Richard Hearne +Pierre Far  A quick follow up question on this.

    What if the user generated content wasn't just links?

    I appreciate any links can be nofollowed (thus ignored by Google), but if the user generated content is just paragraphs of spam filled keywords, Buy Viagra here, Viagra, Viagra, Viagra for example.

    Can user generated comments like that have a negative effect on the page they appear on?

    Comment by Terry Simmonds — February 3, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

  4. +Terry Simmonds In this case, we'd most likely index the Viagra-related words. To be honest, this sounds like spam you'd want to control on your end before it affects the user experience on your site before worrying about how our indexing handles it.

    Comment by Pierre Far — February 3, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

  5. +Pierre Far taking your simple example, can you comment on whether the following will be followed AND pass PageRank:

    document.write('<a href="https://example.com/">example</a>');

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 3, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  6. +Pierre Far yes, I have made numerous posts about the importance of monitoring comment systems.

    People need to understand it's not just links they need be careful of but the comments themselves.

    It's no good thinking that just because any links are nofollowed by your comment system that you don't have to worry to much about comments.

    Some comment systems still show the comment content in the source code even when the webmaster may think the comment has been deleted.

    Comment by Terry Simmonds — February 3, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  7. The question is interesting.

    What about ADS? Some advertise platform give a js code snippet that generates HTML with links followed.

    What we must do?

    We should ask the provider to change the code to nofollow or we can ignore it?

    I think there are lots of implications in this Googlebot change and how to be guidelines compliant.

    Comment by Andrea Pernici — February 3, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

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