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avoiding invisible text
Is a similar background color and text going to get me penalized?

 8:06 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

When I orginially designed my main site I had a white background with blue background tables, and white text. I read about the problems with SEs penalizing sites with same color text as the same background so I changed the text a long time ago. I read today that even similar colors could be penalized. I changed my text color to an off white. Could this get my site penalized?



 10:24 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

You're probably fine, especially since you've had it up for a while — and after all, the text isn't actually invisible.

I've never heard of a "penalty" for invisible text, as in a lower ranking. You just get flat-out banned, and you would know that right away when the traffic vanished from the SE that banned your site. I have heard of the occasional accidental banning because an algo didn't recognize that there was a table background color, but nothing recently.


 4:12 pm on Jun 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've not seen the same problems we saw with it in 96-98 for using table colors. The search engines just had to learn to read the bgcolors on tables. I'm still cautious about it though. I use alot of "black table cellspacing=1, and then white table with black text". Such as this : [webmasterworld.com...]


 6:28 am on Jul 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

What about CSS visibility:hidden? Will this get my site tossed? Do the spiders access external stylesheets?


 11:14 pm on Jul 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think the whole 'banned on invisible text' thing is highly overstated.

Nearly every site has invisible text by some definition. E.g., this site says above in white letters, "Discussion: avoiding invisible text
Is a similar background color and text going to get me penalized?"

Well, there is white text, and the background of this page is FFFFFF, so there you go, this site should be banned. Of course we know it's in a table cel set to a dark blue color, but the search engine doesn't know that. There's no way their HTML parsers are so sophisticated. And even if they were, what if you had a graphical background to the page? Will the engine load the graphic then do a color analysis on it? Where will it end?

My position is this: the search engines have a job to accurately reflect what the HTML authoring community is doing. As a web author it's not your duty to conform to what the search engines want of you. If they want to play little games like banning certain practices, that's their business, but ultimately it's we who determine their habits, not vice versa.


Robert Charlton

 3:54 am on Jul 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

The Inktomi position on this about 15 months ago, when I questioned a rep abt this specifically, was that they felt that the improvement in results that came about from eliminating this kind of spam (ie, font and bg color matching) far outweighed the number of innocent sites that might get hurt in the process.

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