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newbie mistake on hidden text advice
newbie mistake on hidden text advice

 3:57 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Puzzled beyond words as to why one of our pr 7 sites was all but totally removed from Google after 7 years I sat down and ripped our site apart to conclude that a coder of ours by accident made some text that is part of our design and navigation the same color as our background.

My best guess is that this property has suffered a hidden text penalty due to this mistake. Having fixed it now should I contact Google and ask for a resubmission or will the site be reindexed naturally.

Google still crawls the site and tries to let the site in but then drops it out over and over.

Thanks in advance fellas



 5:33 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

all but totally removed

This does not sound like a ban, but more like the kind of disturbing reports we are reading from so many site owners here recently. A ban would mean that it's all gone -- poof! Can I assume that you are also seeing a drop in traffic, which would indicate that this is not just a buggy report from the site: operator?

All that said, I have read from Google reps that a reinclusion request should not be harmful, no matter what the situation.


 5:43 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)


I project manage site development and give coders and designers strict instructions on what is and what is not acceptable.

This should not happen by accident!


 5:45 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

All traffic dried up almost 3 days after we did our usual weekly update to the site which is just about the same day that our one coder messed up with accidental hidden text, page count dropped like a rock and the homepage went poofta but still retains its toolbar pr7 but that of course means little since it is dated data.

The site has alot of authority and its so wierd to see pages go in then go out within 24 hours, the site is still getting deep crawled daily but its almost as if Google is fighting with itself as to whether or not to keep it in.

The only thing we can see wrong would be the goof up with the hidden text. I have had our guys spend hundreds of hours pouring through the site and that is the only thing we come back to that could possibly be wrong.


 5:49 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe spend some time looking at your outgoing links, too. I hate it when good links turn bad!


 5:51 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ya, I know Wordy, we had been pulling extra shifts that week and suspect the coder was just exhausted.

This is his first mistake in 6 years that I know of. Has been a costly one though if this is the true source of the issue. Would a reinclusion request be our best route then? I have never had to do one in 7 years lol.


 5:54 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good point Tedster, I suspected that as well but we came back fairly clean, a couple sites went to expired/domain park but no redirects to nasty stuff.


 6:08 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yep drall, coders are a weird breed especially when under the cosh! If you have a good one then hang on him/her!

If it is a spam penalty then it's a straight 30 day exclusion although I've heard G! are now in the habit of sending an email to let you know you've been naughty and they've spotted it.

[edited by: tedster at 6:51 pm (utc) on May 28, 2006]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


 6:58 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

One other thing -- the most effective reinclusion request today, according to Matt Cutts -- is through the webmaster console in a Sitemaps account. This is mostly because by setting up a sitemapas account you have verified to Google that you really are the website owner.


 7:11 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Cool, thanks for the help fellas its greatly appreciated.


 9:52 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

*I have had our guys spend hundreds of hours pouring through the site and that is the only thing we come back to that could possibly be wrong.*

An outside POV might be useful....


 3:06 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm..It's funny that it happened right after your weekly update.
I would check a number of things before I would blame the "hidden text". That is really rampant throughout the web and google hardly ever really penalizes for it. It has to be blatant spam for it to have an effect and even then it isn't always hit on. I have even reported it and seen nothing happen really.
Have you run all the regular tests. Like xenu linksleuth. Have you checked your raw data in your logs to see if there is a problem for google. Is your robots txt. unchanged? Have you checked to see if your headers are Ok.
Have you even run the site: mysite command to see if you have dropped a bunch of pages. Big Daddy is having a bad effect on a lot of sites.
Tedster- where is your famous list of threads to go thru for sites experiencing problems? It really is good advice.


 6:21 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with texasville, I thought the same.

I would do what he says, I think the hidden text stuff is not the most likely culprit, but without looking at the site it's hard to say. But don't ask me to do that please, LOL... I don't feel like it. But I do think texasville is probably on the right track.


 3:39 pm on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

list of threads to go thru for sites experiencing problems

Checklist for Sudden Drops in Rank [webmasterworld.com]
Dropped from Google - a checklist to find out why [webmasterworld.com]
Dropped Site Checklist [webmasterworld.com]
The url-only problem [webmasterworld.com]

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