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Rules for hidden text
what are the rules for having some text and bg the same color
Clay Wimberley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 8:56 pm on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm posting a revised version of my site. Most of the text and background colors are governed by css. some of the background colors for divs, tables, cells, etc. is that same as some of the text in the site, but i'm not hiding any text (all appearances of light text is on a dark background). Can i be penalized for just having some backgrounds and text the same color even it they are never used together to hide text? Can search engines see my css file. If so, can i hide it with a robot.txt? If i change the text and bg colors very slightly, am i still at risk?

 

bears5122

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 11:49 pm on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know people will tell you not to do it, but I've never seen Google ban anyone for hidden text. In fact, doesn't seem like Google cares much about spam these days.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:24 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know people will tell you not to do it, but I've never seen Google ban anyone for hidden text. In fact, doesn't seem like Google cares much about spam these days.

A penalty of this nature isn't a real problem. "If" a penalty does occur it simply negates ranking effectiveness of the tactic.

e.g. if keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, are same color as background and detected - page performance is as "they are not there"... This will not negatively affect best practices. e.g. Use of Titles, H Tags, links, visible text keywords, etc.

Note: no absolute 'proof' of this - more based on absence of proof as bears5122 indicates no one gets slammed for hidden text even though easily detectable.

PatrickDeese

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:34 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

> but I've never seen Google ban anyone for hidden text.

Well then you must not have been promoting sites in Spring / Summer of 2003.

Google did a "clean sweep" of it's index and thousands of sites got hit.

It was all over Google support in Google Groups, and there were threads here about it too:

[webmasterworld.com...]

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:43 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen several sites banned for hidden text ... in the past. However, several of my competitors have been doing very, very well using both hidden text and doorway pages. Seems to work nicely on Yahoo and MSN as well.

If you plan to use this tactic, I would have a duplicate site ready to upload at a moments notice which is clean ... just in case they ever bother to deal with these issues again.

Monksp

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:51 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to add more justification to this topic ... I have been watching a website built by a child company of the one that I work for and they have tons of hidden text on the site. I keep telling them to get the hidden text off the site but they keep ranking high and they think it works. I guess only time will tell but who knows now?

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 4:10 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Historical Patrick -= a few months later.

fathom asked:

Don't know if this is answerable GG > Off-topic to the question - on-topic to your answer.

A penalty > does it penalize the technique/tactic only or actually penalize the page and site (which are really two different things).

The best "generalized" example I can give is > tactics or techniques do not define the substance of the web site > the physical content, topics, depth, breadth and context of that site.

So does the technique/tactic become ineffective when penalized or is the page/site actually removed or lost (for lack of a better words).

Google goal is "to provide to best answers to the question" therefore I would believe the technique/tactic ineffective approach would be more beneficial to Google, the user, and even the clients of bad SEO advice.

GoogleGuy:

Good question, fathom, if I understand you correctly. One point is that it's much better to go after types of spam than individual sites. There will always be more sites that are willing to cut corners or to try tricks. Also, if you take action for an individual site, then that means more work down the line if the site needs to write in, the site needs to be reviewed again, and so on--that leads to why algorithms work better than manual action. I think the ideal is just to make techniques ineffective. Some people will waste time doing the ineffective techniques, but they wouldn't get gain on it from Google. There's an interesting second-order effect where spam doesn't do a site any good, but a competitor sees the spam on the site and assumes that it helped. That's probably an advanced topic for another time though.

If you consider that Google "wants the best pages" and the "technique" doesn't change the merits of the page, and associate this to GG comments, and the fact that hidden tet is still in the archive - the point today -- merely effective.

The "clean sweep" was actually enormous networks with tons of hidden text - that got a manual boot.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 8:24 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you consider that Google "wants the best pages" and the "technique" doesn't change the merits of the page, and associate this to GG comments, and the fact that hidden tet is still in the archive - the point today -- merely effective.

Miswrote. Should be:

If you consider that Google "wants the best pages" and the "technique" doesn't change the overal merits of the page, and associate this to GG comments, plus the fact that hidden text is still in the archive - the point today -- merely ineffective.

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 10:20 am on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi fathom :)

I would hesitate to confirm that conclusion as three of the sites I have mentioned were booted from the index for quite a long time, but are now back in and have been for quite a long time.

The PR bar still shows all white for all three sites ... but they rise to the top of the SERPS nonetheless. When they were firt penalized, you couldn't find them in the SERPS at all. Now they are all over the place.

Ergo, these techniques would seem to be quite effective. I can give you three glaring examples if you'd like to sticky me. One with hidden text, one with 40 or 50 (nearly identical) doorway pages and another which is cloaking and redirects.

Clay Wimberley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 12:32 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not even talking about actual hidden text, i'm worried about just having some text and backgrounds in my css as the same value even if they are not used in conjunction so no text is hidden. Do they have any way of distinguishing if the bg and text are used in conjunction? Can they even see my style sheet?

Clay Wimberley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 12:34 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also, what about hiding your CSS file with robot.txt? Do SE look at CSS files and if so do they look at all everyone's?

Monksp

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:47 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Clay -
I would think that the page that gets indexed would be "as is" after it has pulled the style. So in theroy what you have should be Ok. Will the algo dig into the style and see that there "may" be a possibility of combined style creating hidden text...I would like to know the answer to that myself.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:58 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well let's clarify a few thing.

I wouldn't use hidden text as a method to "rank better" - it DOES NOT WORK.

As I stated before Google will negate any benefit from extra "keywords"... but as an example <snip> deploys hidden text (because some bots still can't parse flash links) and they want the bot to crawl the html version - and keep the visitors on the flash version. (that seems reseasonable)

As lame as this is - auto detection would normally "negate" any benefit of the physical hidden text - but clearly they are not attempting to rank on
About Us Solutions Clients Case Studies News & Press

Additionally tons of spam reports have been submitted and they are still there.

Liane - how indepth of research did you do to conclusively indicate that "only - hidden text" banned them. Intentionally hidden for ranking purposes tends to be associated with lots of other spam practices - not just a few words on a page.

CSS - It is currently believed that Google does not crawl external CSS based on cache pages not using CSS on display however, this is an assumption.

It is better far better to avoid such practices - and I would add "if you are not doing this for ranking" - why not just change the font color. If this is about positioning - put text in a CSS div id and use precise positioning - would be a better approach.

Notwithstanding, based on all available observations... if you are not intending to "stuff" a bunch of: keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword

...on your pages, intentionally to induce better ranks (which again I stress in a futile effort) YOU WILL BE FINE.

[edited by: engine at 4:14 pm (utc) on Oct. 11, 2004]
[edit reason] domain snipped [/edit]

Liam Mc Ardle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 5:04 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi,

If you would like to use hidden text without getting kicked off search engines you might try this. If you have a white background with black text, inset a black background image into a table cell and use black text. Good Luck.

Liam

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 7:49 pm on Oct 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually, that "is" the best way... thanks Liam for the input,

and welcome to WebmasterWorld! ;)

adfree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 12:42 am on Oct 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are a couple of folks around here who will not like much what you are trying. Including the reps from the major SE's. Are you absolutely sure you have exhausted all opportunities to rank well with non-controversial methods?

You will create problems short or long, chasing your own tail is far less enjoyable than progressing slowly but stay on that upwards path.

Clay Wimberley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 2:16 pm on Oct 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the useful info, although I think we keep straying off of the original question. I don't have any hidden text on my site, and i don't intend to use any hidden text. I simply have some text and some background elements specified as the same color in my external style sheet, but the text and backgrounds are never used together so there is no hidden text. Does anyone have good information about whether or not you can be banned or penalized for this even though you are not hiding text at all. How sophisticated is the algorithm that the SEs use?

bakedjake

WebmasterWorld Administrator bakedjake us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5451 posted 4:36 pm on Oct 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

How sophisticated is the algorithm that the SEs use?

Not sophisticated enough to ban you for that. You will be just fine.

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