|White text on a blue background being skipped over...|
Whilst playing fuse ball with some of my co-workers I had my "Aha! moment of the day.
My site is not ranked well (or at all) for the key phrase "web hosting". But, I put the keywords everywhere in my site, especially in my subheadings.
I just realized that my subheadings use white text on a blue background. It really looks nice - but - I think because the text is white, that Google/etc are skipping that part of the page thinking that it is hidden text, when in fact, its not.
I really don't want to change the appearance of the page, so the question is, can I use a CSS Style that makes the text white? Will Google pick up on this text then, or will I need to change the color altogether?
Thanks in advance for your help.
(BTW - My site should be available in my profile - obviously I'm talking about the Web Hosting portion of the site.)
Hello bteeter, welcome to Webmaster World. Wow, web hosting! Probably one of the most sought after positions on the net. You have many more issues to consider besides the one you bring up. Upon quick review, you have this...
<body bgcolor="#808080" text="#000000" background="/images/scanlines2.gif" leftmargin="0" topmargin="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0">
And then this...
<table border="0" width="600" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1">
<tr><td width="100%" bgcolor="#000000">
You've got your default text set to #000000 (black) and you've also got table cells with the same bgcolor #000000. That may or may not be an issue. Could be miscontrued as hidden text. I'm not sure this applies in today's environment, but it was a problem in the past.
P.S. All of those 1x1 images that you have may not be helping either!
P.S.S. Quick check on W3C validation shows a host of errors in the code too.
I wouldn't worry about Google catching you, bteeter:
Google and Invisible Text [webmasterworld.com]
Thanks for the information everyone. :-) I've cleaned up some of the HTML validation errors, only to find a bunch more. Doh!
Fixing all the errors would make the page 2x in size... Hmmm... How important is it to have HTML that validates correctly for the search engines?
You might also want to approach the problem of ranking for the kw phrase "web hosting" from several different angles. That is an exceptionally crowded field with a vast number of very tough competitors.
There are a lot of well-trafficked phrases for hosting that are not nearly so competitive. If I were going to tackle the web hosting category, first step would be to identify all the relevant kw phrases that apply to your business. I would target all these secondary phrases, while also building toward ranking on the main "web hosting" phrase. You will certainly get high ranking on the secondary phrases quicker.
Sort of a "surround and conquer" strategy....
Actually, we already have. :-)
Do searches for "jsp web hosting" or "servlet web hosting" for example. We rank in the top 10 or 20 depending on whether your coming from google.yahoo.com or google.com.
The last Google dance went very well for us, and we are getting a LOT more Google traffic than we were. We're still discovering new keyword phrases that we are now listed under.
I don't think we'll be able to get listed on "web hosting" until we get to PR 6. The top sites are all PR 7, and PR 6 and up sites are listed for what seems like the first 500 or so listings!
<I just realized that my subheadings use white text on a blue background. It really looks nice - but - I think because the text is white, that Google/etc are skipping that part of the page thinking that it is hidden text, when in fact, its not.>
I don't believe that this is an issue with Google, as it isn't 'invisible text', but in view of the fact that I've just completely re-designed my website around white text on a green background over the last few days I'd appreciate it if someone with more experience than me about these things could re-assure me that I've not got any problems with this!
> I don't believe that this is an issue with Google, as it isn't 'invisible text', but in view of the fact that I've just completely re-designed my website around white text on a green background over the last few days I'd appreciate it if someone with more experience than me about these things could re-assure me that I've not got any problems with this!
What you've described would not be an issue with any indexing spider.
What I've described above is when you have text (#000000) that is the same color as a table or cell background (#000000). In this instance, the text matches the same color as a table or cell background therefore appearing to look like hidden text when in most cases its a technique used to create reverse headings.
I cannot say that this mistake would cause issues in todays SEO. I've seen plenty of hidden text on pages in top positions. Why its even there baffles me. Some of those sites have PR7 and I can only assume that the practice is for other SE's and not Google.
Back in the beginning of my web design career, I was instructed not to use the reverse heading technique unless I gave that reverse text a value of #efefef or something light enough to provide contrast against the background color and also print. White text doesn't print! There was a recent topic on this within the last 30 days and it was stated that IE defaults to not printing background colors.
If there were a filter to detect this, which I understand there may not be, the values #000000 and #ffffff would be at the top of the list.