Search engine support of rel=”” link attributes – cheat sheet

Readers with a cursory knowledge of SEO best practices are probably familiar with the rel=”nofollow” link attribute which tells search engines in essence that the site owner doesn’t vouch for the quality of an outgoing link, a link which was more than likely added by a site visitor. Perhaps even the rel=”canonical”, used to provide search engines with the definitive document URL for content reachable through multiple URLs, rings a bell. But what about rel=”author” used by Google’s authorship markup or rel=”next” for pagination?

Even seasoned SEO practitioners need a cheat sheet now and then to sort through some of the more arcane HTML markup used by search engines (our comprehensive meta tag listing may be helpful as well!).

The following table is a survey of rel= link attribute use by leading search engines. Let us know of any additions or corrections!

rel namePurposeExampleFirst useAnnouncementa tag?link tag?meta tag?GooglebingYandexBaiduBlekkoNaverReference Standard
alternateIdentify primary document URL for documents with foreign language navigationrel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”2010-09-09
author, meDocument authorshiprel=”author”, rel=”me”2011-06-07
canonicalIdentify primary document URL<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />2009-02-25
dc:*Media markup (Yahoo! SearchMonkey RDFa). dc is actually from the Dublin Core Meta Initiative.<a rel=”dc:license” href=”” />2009-09-14! Developer
icon, shortcut iconSpecify Favorite Icon location<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”sitename/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />
image_srcFacebook Share: synonym for open graph tag og:image (Deprecated?)rel=”image_src”2009-09-14 to be deprecated
media:*Media markup (Yahoo! SearchMonkey RDFa)<a rel=”media:thumbnail” href=”” />2009-09-14 Developer
nextPagination – next page link<link rel=”prev” href=”″ />
<link rel=”next” href=”″ />
nofollowTag outgoing links as potentially untrusted<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>2005-01-18
original-sourceIndicates which URL should be credited with breaking a story2010-11-16
prevPagination – previous page link<link rel=”prev” href=”″ />
<link rel=”next” href=”″ />
publisherPublisher attribution<link href=”” rel=”publisher” />
<a href=””>Add us to your Google+ circles</a>
standoutStandout news article.<link rel=”standout” href=“” />2011-09-24
syndication-sourceindicate the preferred URL for a syndicated article<link rel=”syndication-source” href=””/>2010-11-16
video_srcFacebook Share: synonym for open graph tag og:video (Deprecated?)rel=”video_src”2009-09-14 to be deprecated

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About Sean Carlos

Sean Carlos is a digital marketing consultant & teacher, assisting companies with their Search (SEO + SEA = SEM), Social Media & Digital Media Analytics strategies. Sean first worked with text indexing in 1990 in a project for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since then he worked for Hewlett-Packard Consulting and later as IT Manager of a real estate website before founding Antezeta in 2006. Sean is an official instructor of the Digital Analytics Association and collaborates with the Bocconi University. He is Chairman of the SMX Search and Social Media Conference, 12 & 13 November in Milan. He is also a co-author of the Treccani encyclopedic dictionary of computer science, ICT & digital media. Born in Providence, RI, USA, Sean received Honors in Physics from Bates College, Maine. He speaks English, Italian and German.

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