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I have a form that uses/links to Google's Search page to search for the input within my site. I have read other posts regarding nofollow but I am confused if I should put rel="nofollow" on the form just to prevent seemingly endorsing Google or its search page.

I mean, since I use Google Search page to process the input, wouldn't it be natural that nofollow is not used? Will Google actually penalize my site if they discovered I did not use nofollow, especially since I did not choose to use their pre-made Google Custom Search engine?

The code is below:

<form method='get' action='https://google.com/search' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>
  <input type='hidden' name='sitesearch' value='mywebsite.com' />
  <input type='search' name='q' placeholder='search via Google' />
  <button title='search (opens in new tab)' type='submit' value='submit'>Search</button>
</form>
  • @michaeld In other words to "shape external page flow" - that's a prime example of what nofollow should not be used for. (But crawlers don't work like that anyway.) – MrWhite Feb 25 '18 at 12:15
  • I would add nofollow to the form if you want just to protect your link juice in case juice passes from your page to Google. And to prevent the crawler from leaving your site in general. – Michael d Feb 25 '18 at 13:49
  • @Mrwhite Wikipedia adds nofollow to their sources regardless of their domain trust. If you don't want to pass link juice or encourage the crawler to crawl an external link I simply think you just don't have to. – Michael d Feb 25 '18 at 13:52
  • @michaeld The main reason Wikipedia adds nofollow on all external links is to prevent linkspam, this is because the links are untrusted (nothing to do with whether the domain that is linked to is trusted or not). Anybody can add links to Wikipedia - this is what makes the link untrusted. See this recent question with regards to Wikipedia and nofollow: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/112079/… – MrWhite Feb 25 '18 at 14:58
  • @michaeld If you have millions of pages and Google is not allocating you enough resources to crawl those pages then you most likely have more concerns to worry about. Google or Bing does not consider tag, author, categories pages as thin content or low quality. If the articles within those type of pages are low quality then using nofollow is not the fix, the solution is to prevent low quality being created... you're attempting a band-aid for a much bigger problem. – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '18 at 16:26
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The attribute nofollow is for:

  • Paid Links
  • Untrustworthy Links

The attribute nofollow is not for:

  • Shaping internal page flow
  • Shaping external page flow
  • Trusted relevant external sites

In short... if the link is to a website that is trusty, then there is no need to use nofollow, also worth mentioning that Google or Bing are not going to use your form, in any case.

  • Hi Simon, am I allowed to put nofollow to internal links on shorttail tags knowing that I won't rank for those so that I can have Google follow my longtail tags instead? – Michael d Feb 25 '18 at 13:03
  • If a page is useful for users then it should be indexed and never use nofollow on internal links period, both Google and Bing frown upon it. Google and Bing do not consider categories, author or tag pages as low quality, Stack Overflow has over 54,000 tags with over 100's of millions of pagination pages, Pro Webmasters has 1040+ tags with millions of pagination pages. Google and Bing do not punish for useful pages. – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '18 at 13:40
  • Matt Cutts says using nofollow on internal links won't hurt your site: searchengineland.com/… – Michael d Feb 25 '18 at 13:48
  • @michaeld, read it again. The example used is in reference to a login page that Google would not reward unless there was a substantial amount of unique content on the page. So using a nofollow is going to do nothing, in fact, he recommends the page should use noindex. if your purposely using noindex to shape page flow, then Google or Bing will ignore it, or punish for it - either way, you're never going to be rewarded for it, so why use it? – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '18 at 13:54
  • I can think of no real scenarios that you would ever want to use an internal nofollow on a href based link. Since nofollow is different from the one in the meta tag. It is always and will remain that useful pages should be indexed, sensitive pages should use nofollow + noindex or robots, or both, but nofollow in the meta is different to that in a href, it may seem the same but both work differently (nofollow meta = does not crawl links found on the page and discover new pages) nofollow in href = do not pass juice, it does not mean it can't find new pages. – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '18 at 13:55

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