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SEO : The Rel Attribute

After attending the WordPress User Group this week I decided to pay slightly more attention to the SEO elements of the page content on the Cyber Sprocket site.

One of the topics they brought up was the importance of the rel tag. Google is putting more emphasis on the linkages between sites since the Panda update ( this past summer. They are not just counting links in/out, that is old school. They are using heuristics to determine the nature of the relationships and assign different weights based on the type of relationship, proximity, and a dozen other metrics.

You can use the rel attribute of your links to influence the algorithm. How much weight they give the rel attributes is still unknown, however there is enough weight that most SEO groups recommend you always use rel on links (and often recommend the use of rev). The only values of rel I ever use are rel="me" and rel="nofollow". The WPUG presenter mentioned using rel="author", to indicate that the link goes to the author’s “about me” page.

I decided to look into just what values can go into rel and what those values mean to a search engine. IMO, the notable values of rel has gotten out of control. To wit, rel="crush" is defined as “this person considers the referenced person to be a crush (i.e. has a crush on the referenced person)”. What? Here is a decent list in case you want to see what other values can go into rel that provide added “intelligence” to the Skynet Crawler Bots:

The official W3C page does not list half these values, but it is well known that rel="nofollow" has a definite impact on web crawling and SEO, yet is is not listed here:

Your Thoughts?

What rel values do you use?  How does it impact SEO?

What are your thoughts about the proliferation of rel tag values?