Hacking the <a> tag – implications for search engines

Bilawal Hameed recently posted up Hacking the <a> tag in 100 characters, where he uses JavaScript to capture a click event on a link and then redirects it to another page entirely.

Knowing that search engine crawlers have limited JavaScript support, I went to see if Google thinks his page links to paypal or not.

If you search in google for link:www.paypal.co.uk site:bilaw.al, you will see that his post shows up.

To check I wasn’t getting a false positive, I tried a slightly different URL.

If you search for link:www.paypal.com site:bilaw.al instead, you get no results.

Is it a problem? Can it be exploited for profit? Not as far as I’m aware, beyond damaging the quality of Google’s search engine data.

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