Last week Google made a few announcements at the Google I/O conference and one major one seems to have gone unnoticed.
The changes were revealed by Vanessa Fox and are based around the way Google handles non-standard web links.
Googlebot is now able to construct much of the page and can access the onClick event contained in most tags. For now, if the onClick event calls a function that then constructs the URL, Googlebot can only interpret it if the function is part of the page (rather than in an external script).
Some examples of code that Googlebot can now execute include:
<tr onclick="myfunction('index.html')"><a href="#" onclick="myfunction()">new page</a>
These links pass both anchor text and PageRank.
This is welcome news from Google, even if it changes things a bit. With an algorithm built on links there is no reason Google should count some links and discount others just because of the way they are implemented. From a users point of view if you can click on a link then it’s a real link and that’s how Google should see them too.
This change does bring about some interesting issues and I wonder how many sites will suddenly see thousands of new pages being indexed or a massive boost in rankings as links that previously didn’t count are suddenly used by Google.