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When is hidden text permissible?
Lorel




msg:3218071
 4:41 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm working on a new shopping cart for a site where the owner had his part numbers and other data stolen off his old shopping cart by another site owner and this time he wants the part numbers invisible but searchable, i.e., they are in the code but the general viewer can't see them.

The ecommerce tech person suggested I set up the part numbers but do a whole lot of tweaking with the shopping cart code and make them invisible by not displaying the part numberrs or just put the part numbers in white text on a white background. I've see other sites where the part number doesn't show up on the page but I'm not sure how they do it.

I'm concerned the site might be penalized by google for hidden text. Anyone know how to hide the text and not get penalized?

 

dickbaker




msg:3218086
 5:41 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sure. Just do it, and wait until one of your client's competitors' webmasters sees what's going on and reports it to Google.

There was a site in my niche that was doing all sorts of dirty tricks, and everybody was complaining about it.

Finally, I emailed Google about it, and they were gone in two days.

Haven't seen them since.

appi2




msg:3218088
 6:47 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Depending on what you mean by hide.
Use alt or title.
Name an image as the part #
Use an anchor as part#

Otherwise tell whoever? stop being daft.

tedster




msg:3218118
 7:50 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

The straightforward answer to "When is hidden text permissible?" is "Only when a user action makes that text render visibly on the web page." So, white on white does not qualify. In fact, anything you want to be searchable really should be visible from the get-go.

The odd thing here is that a competitor who is already a proven thief is very likely to use your source code anyway, not the visible page. So its not at all worth any risk of a Google problem, in my view.

jetteroheller




msg:3218164
 9:43 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am a specialist in hidden text.

Since I discovered in the year 2000, that Google does not index meta tag keywords, I used a scrollable 60 pixel height DIV, 300 pixel width.

Above the fold a search box
Below the fold the keywords

No problem until now.

2005, I optimized my main site and reduced the height of the DIV to 35 pixel height. This was to small.

I received middle December 2005 an email, that this site will be deleted from Google index. I corrected the problem and was some weeks later again in the index.

theBear




msg:3218320
 3:34 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

jetteroheller,

LOL

Lorel,

Just make certain that the user action that makes the text visible doesn't rely on browser artifacts for visibility.

Am I correct jj?

trinorthlighting




msg:3218353
 4:23 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do not hide text, its not worth the ban! If someone steals his part numbers in the future, file a DMCA complaint and get the other site banned.

phantombookman




msg:3218378
 4:54 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Q: When is hidden text permissible?

A: When you are a large corporate site!

jetteroheller




msg:3218467
 7:13 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Q: When is hidden text permissible?
A: When you are a large corporate site!

Do not think this, just 2 weeks after I got my email from Google to be banned, a similar email reached BMW, one of the largest German car companies. Illegal javascript redirects got them banned for a week.

Happened Jannuary 2006

soapystar




msg:3218479
 7:23 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

would you say one week was a standard penalty?

jetteroheller




msg:3218510
 8:13 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

would you say one week was a standard penalty?

Maybe I would have achieved the same short time without christmas holidays.

Lorel




msg:3218668
 11:57 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all your advice folks.

Putting it in an alt tag won't work as it's a dynamically driven shopping cart without alt tags and with over 4000 products. I'd rather clean toilets for a living than adding those all separately.

I guess the only option is to display the part numbers and grit one's teeth and hope all competitors have a religious conversion and repent from their evil ways.

LOL

topr8




msg:3218672
 12:08 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

i would re-iterate what tedster said:

>>a competitor who is already a proven thief is very likely to use your source code anyway, not the visible page.

which means that if the partnumbers or whatever are indexable then they can also be found by your competitors.

fjpapaleo




msg:3218694
 12:20 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I might be missing something but.......If it's a dynamically created site I take that to mean it's running off a database, MySQL probably? Why does the part number have to be visible to search, aren't you just searching the database anyway to display the results? If not, surely you could just create an advanced search option and label it "search by part number" to bring it up out of the data.

Ledfish




msg:3218702
 12:34 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

fjpapaleo - You are missing something.

The OP's client wants the part numbers hidden, but wants them available for Google to see so they become searchable results. Thus if someone searches for 5000 series widgets, the client's page will come up in Google but if you go to the page you won't see the actual part number (5000 series)

Lorel
I'm afraid your client can't have it both ways and like others have said, your client's competitor will find them anyway if were to try and hide them by having them white on a white background.

It would be better to find other ways to battle your unsavory competitor.

fjpapaleo




msg:3218712
 12:50 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ok sorry, I thought the term "searchable" was referring to the user. Yeah, there's no way around that. Any competitor who really wants the part number will just look at the source code anyway. Definitely not worth taking a chance on using hidden text.

Quadrille




msg:3218718
 1:05 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Shoot the "ecommerce tech person". That should fix your problem.

Sorry. mistype, I meant to say "educate the ecommerce tech person"

;)

[edited by: Quadrille at 1:06 am (utc) on Jan. 14, 2007]

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