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Site with Hidden Texts Showing up in SERPS
What ever happened to quality sites?
paladin




msg:718532
 9:54 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

A few months ago we noticed a specific site showing up in the top three SERPS for a specific phrase in Google using hidden texts. This is not too competitive a phrase (4694 searches last month according to Overture, bids at $6.00, then down to $3.85).

At the end of September, a colleague of mine filled out a SPAM complaint on Google using the "Dissatisfied? Help us improve" link. We did the same about a week later. As of today, that site is still there, with the white font text on a white background on the page.

How can that site be in Google at all, not to mention being in a relatively high position for that search phrase?

 

paladin




msg:718533
 1:44 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anybody?

(guess the post got burried in moderation)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:718534
 1:51 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The short answer is that Google are unable to deal with it. In my experience they seldom act on these reports manually. Here's what they say ...

We investigate each report of deceptive practices thoroughly and take appropriate action when abuse is uncovered. At minimum, we will use the data from each spam report to improve our site ranking and filtering algorithms. (my emphasis) The result of this should be visible over time as the quality of our searches gets even better. In especially egregious cases, we will remove spammers from our index immediately, so they do not show up in search results at all. Other steps will be taken as necessary.

reseller




msg:718535
 1:54 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

paladin

You may wish to try the new Jagger-Turbo-Deluxe-System of sending spam reports :-)

Don't wait to send Jagger-related spam feedback; I'd send that now. Using the keyword "Jagger" at [google.com...] will get someone reading and checking it out.

Give it a test drive!

paladin




msg:718536
 4:25 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, as suggested I just sent in the spam report 11/2/05 with the Keyword Jagger 2 (Matt Cutts Blog).

I guess we'll see in the next few days if it makes a difference.

Leosghost




msg:718537
 4:36 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

reseller ..did they give you a free tee shirt ..or an aff deal ..or just ( kept it nice just in time ..oh wow i must be mellowing ..)..

or are you hoping they'll give you a tee shirt?

coconutz




msg:718538
 4:52 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess we'll see in the next few days if it makes a difference.

Don't hold your breath. Having expectations will only leave you frustrated. Hidden text is not something that will normally result in any type of manual intervention.

Keep in mind that text is text; hidden or otherwise. ;)

wheelie34




msg:718539
 4:53 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have 2 sites purely setup to see what gives, had them for about 3 years so I can monitor them when $hit happens like Jagger. (I dont care about them too much)

Site one has <span style="font-size:0px; text-decoration:none"> with links to internal pages and text, cant read it as its size 0 that site is now position #1 on google for UK and global search for its main keyword. G seems to now like it as it was position #60 to #70 before Jagger baby started. When you look at the cache page on G its just rows and rows of yellow and green blocks highlighted.

Site 2 has hidden text and <noscript> tags was in position #200+ yep its now in #3 for its key phrase.

LOL genuine sites have shuffled a bit too but its these 2 that leave me wondering #*$!

Leosghost




msg:718540
 5:02 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

always worth tethering some goats out in the open ..and inspite of how excruciatingly easy it is to get these with any algo and eat em ..and google claims that it can do so ..these are exactly the kind of critters that do survive..
pay no attention to the man behind the curtain ..his motives and powers are not what he says they are

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:718541
 5:10 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

As I said in message three I just don't think they are able to deal with this. Their "no manual intervention" crusade leaves them totally exposed to this sort of stuff. There are too many ways to hide it and not enough ways to root them out (automatically).

Having said that I still come across sites in plain old HTML with the same foregound/background colours. If they can't find that what chance have they when skilled people get to work?

Anyone who raises reports on this is quite simply wasting their time. I would not do this until Google guarantees that the offending sites will be swiftly penalised, manually or otherwise.

paladin




msg:718542
 5:12 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hidden text is not something that will normally result in any type of manual intervention

...and I've been telling all our clients I work with for years to stay away from black hat techniques like "<font color=white>"

<sigh>

reseller




msg:718543
 11:00 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Leosghost

>>reseller ..did they give you a free tee shirt ..or an aff deal ..or just ( kept it nice just in time ..oh wow i must be mellowing ..)..

or are you hoping they'll give you a tee shirt? <<

Only a T-Shirt worth $1.20 for all the great anti-spam promotion I'm doing? No way :-)

kaled




msg:718544
 12:54 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you know how, why not spoof an email from Google telling the site owners to remove the hidden text or face being removed from the index?

Make sure you cover your tracks with respect to IP addresses, etc.

Kaled.

paladin




msg:718545
 2:45 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

why not spoof an email from Google telling the site owners to remove the hidden text or face being removed from the index

No you're talking about going over to the dark (black) side. Remember..."Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Stefan




msg:718546
 3:06 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

A few months ago we noticed a specific site showing up in the top three SERPS for a specific phrase in Google using hidden texts.

You have to wonder how long it will last. For a dash and grab approach (survive for a while, and when you disappear you do it again with new sites), it obviously works - just look at the serps in G or Y for almost any set of kw's. But if you want a site that lasts, with no need to change the domain, I don't know...

Leosghost




msg:718547
 3:38 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's worked since G began ..each and every update they tell us how they can spot it ..on the "guide lines" they say "not to do it" as if they can spot it ( spotting it is so simple anyone can write their own bot that uses it as a parameter
..) and yet they are now asking for spam reports ..and it still is working ..

QED..so they know how to fix it and don't wish to ..
like many other "issues"

a1call




msg:718548
 3:52 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,
I am puzzled. Could someone explain the appeal of using hidden text please.
Is it potentially more effective than visible text?
If not why would anybody want to hide it.
Is it just not to look spammy to human visitors or am I missing something. How difficult is it to compose a sentence or a list out of the text?

Stefan




msg:718549
 4:02 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could someone explain the appeal of using hidden text please.

Keyword spamming that isn't visible to a visitor.

It's worked since G began

I don't know, man... the one time I tried it on a page it was soon found and booted (I was trying to get some fieldnotes to show well in searches for a particular researcher I knew, without having it obvious - sort of a grudge involved ;-). The page came back some time later, once I'd removed it. Of course, only that one page went missing, not the whole site.

Leosghost




msg:718550
 10:45 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

stefan ..maybe what i should have said is that they can deal with keyword spammng and hidden text anytime they feel like ..as many other "sins" ..
but sometimes in some areas on some sites ..they don't deal with it and just let it happen inspite of "spam" reports ..
so one is forced to ask ..why ..as it is obviously a concious decision .
sort of like if the speed radar caught everyone ..but the cop only pulled over certain cars and gave them a ticket ..you'd have to ask what was in his motivation

kaled




msg:718551
 12:49 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Apparently bad and inconsistent decisions can be due to work overload, incompetence and corruption. I am not inclined towards the corruption theory in the case Google vs Hidden Text but both of the other explanations are likely.

Kaled.

walkman




msg:718552
 1:07 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Could someone explain the appeal of using hidden text please.

they use to stuff the page with keywords, and the users never notice it, that's all. Pretty stupid considering the penalties involved but some still do it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:718553
 1:19 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

... and get away with it ;)

texasville




msg:718554
 2:11 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I did report two very egregious spammers in a sector I watch using the jagger update and addressing the first line to GG with my id in it. He had asked me to do it that way since I was complaining in the update thread that the reporting system did not work so why waste your time. He did take action against one spammer with several sites using the most outrageous blackhat methods.
But the other site I reported that has sat in the top of the serps in my sector for years is still there. Hasn't been touched. They link to authority sites and competitors sites using a trans gif and hidden text and scraped content from a canadian gov't site.
Thought GG just lost that one in the shuffle so I resent it yesterday. We'll see in a few days but it seems this site is bulletproof. Several years old, in the dmoz and a few hundred backlinks. (mostly bs links)

paladin




msg:718555
 2:07 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well it took about a month and a half, but that offending site I mentioned is no longer there.

site:www.domain.com returns zero results.

I don't enjoy being a tattle tale, but it is sometimes frustrating when we take the time to make sure we work with white hats techniques and someone else comes in with hidden texts.

What am I apologizing for? Anything to help our client, right?

digicam




msg:718556
 2:21 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

White hat still means you are trying to manipulate rankings - why so holier than thou?

soapystar




msg:718557
 2:25 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

when two boxers take to the ring they are trying to knock the crap out of each other but they have still agreed not to use guns. If a boxer one day shoots his opponent i think its right he is disqualified so that all boxing matches don't end in a shooting even though they are all still trying to knock the crap out of each other. So there are degrees of manipulation past which it it is to every ones detriment to allow it to continue.

ThomasB




msg:718558
 2:26 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think one of the biggest questions in this entire thing is:
Is there a real benefit of having hidden text? I personally see on-page factors having a much(!) lower weight compared to off-page factors. So why bother with hidden text if you can just get a few more links and you'll rank a lot better without risking your domain.

coconutz




msg:718559
 4:18 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> but it is sometimes frustrating when we take the time to make sure we work with white hats techniques and someone else comes in with hidden texts.

Does white hat include trying to remove pages ranked above your client? Instead of looking for reasons why those sites shouldn't be above your clients' sites or your own, why not improve yours so they continually rank above the competition?

Text is just text - hidden or otherwise. Just one on page factor. If your client doesn't rank above a page with hidden text don't get the impression it would if the text was visible. You should really be looking elsewhere for reasons why the page ranks as well as it did. ;)

Reporting a page above yours or your clients may also risk their ranking. Don't think that only the page you report will be checked. One typo can make your own text appear to be meant for search engines only....

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:718560
 5:31 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why is it that people always try to justify this? If it's against the rules within which most of us are willing to operate then they deserve to get reported.

Just don't ask me to do it. I don't have time ;)

Miop




msg:718561
 5:59 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here is how to get to number one (or at least within the top 5)on Google for virtually every kw you want.

1. Buy hundreds of domains with the kw in the name
2. Redirect each and every one to your main site (relevant page or even home page seems to work)
3. Attach .htm pages to your main site for each kw and make sure the kw is in the url.
4. Stuff the page with relevant keywords for that kw phrase you want to be found for but for each .htm page you make.
5. Stuff that that .htm page with a link to every other url you bought earlier.
6. Put a redirect on the .htm page for Google, to the relevant page on your website.
7. Person searches for term, and sees your site at the top with indented page.
7. When the searcher clicks on the page, the page redirects to the relevant content on that website.
If you click on the cache of the page you will see nothing but a blank page. If you click on the link on Google heading for the cache which says 'cached text only', you will see the stuffed (and I mean stuffed with many repetitions) page full of H1 tags, kw stuffing and al the url's that company has bought and links to all urls on the site itself.

8. End result - you will dominate Google for every keyword you wish, and even better on MSN where your sites will figure in 6 our of 10 results on page one, even though they all look like different sites on the MSN page. You will also apparently survive a major update which sees zillions of clean sites flushed down the pan. Rub hands together and think of all that traffic you have stolen from honest webmasters.

(recipe taken from analysis of top serp across hundreds of kw's in my sector)

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