What is the difference between following tags?



1 Answer 1


They are functionally the same.



there is no FOLLOW or NOFOLLOW so the default is FOLLOW which is equal to:


Both are functionally the same and neither is incorrect, however, if you are mechanizing this meta-tag, I would suggest the more complete:

  • Google now says that "follow" is useless with "noindex". If you are using "noindex", the links on the page eventually get ignored anyway. Google: Long Term Noindex Will Lead To Nofollow Also Jun 17, 2018 at 10:53
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    @StephenOstermiller Okay. I can see if the page is not indexed, then a filter cannot get the links from the page. Except we know this process does happen. I read the linked page and it does not make sense. I appreciate the link, however, what was said is so fuzzy, it does not sound possible. Computers do the smae thing over and over. They do not reason like humans do. John says on one hand the page will exist in the index and then they think eventually you really mean it so the behaviour changes? That is why I hated people quoting Matt Cutts. Most of the time they just read what they wanted.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 17, 2018 at 15:28
  • I take it to mean that the PageRank calculation is only performed against pages in the index. So when you tell Google not to index a page, it won't be included in the PageRank calculation. Because the PageRank calculation job and the indexing job run separately, they could be a time when the page is noindexed, but still available to the PageRank calculation, but eventually it will get completely kicked out of the index and not available for PageRank calculations. Jun 17, 2018 at 15:34
  • @StephenOstermiller I really can see not indexing links for a page you were explicitly forbidden to index. This is not a good business decision. It is always better to keep a URL (page in this case), so that any link with that page as a source or target of could be understood. I get the notion of dumping the HTML source of course. From a business perspective, the core of the schema has to be absolutely reliable. That would be the URL (page) and link index (tables). And you would think it wise to know as much as possible so that decisions can be made once and not over and over again.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 17, 2018 at 15:38
  • I would have thought so too, but there are many times that Google doesn't work the way I would have assumed that it does. I generally see people trying to use noindex,follow to game the system and Google may have put something in to react to that. Or maybe John's somewhat vague statement isn't the whole story. Jun 17, 2018 at 15:40

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