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Can I Be Penalized for an URL in a Hidden DIV?

9:10 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm creating a custom stats script for my sites. It involves placing a php script on each page that I want to track.

The programmer placed the php script into a hidden div like this:

<div style='display:none'>
<img src='h**p://www.site.com/dir/script.php?longlistofvariables></div>

Can I be penalized by Google for using this kind of technique?

I'm not asking how to solve it, but if it is legal or not.

I find it technique placed on a gray zone, but I'm not sure...


11:22 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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You could be penalized.
You might be penalized.

I argued long ago that any text that is hidden should simply be ignored, but my comments seemed to fall on deaf ears at Google.

In this case, it's a graphic that's hidden, but I wouldn't recommend assuming it'll be ok.

Use a wholly-transparent .gif image - that should be ok.

Also, using display:none might, on some browsers, cause the image to never be fetched and therefore page-hits could go uncounted.


11:36 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Come on, it's not a link, not even text, just an image. I wouldn't worry about it. But as Kaled said, using a clear gif is just as invisible and a widely used method too.

I'm worrying more about Hn text that's replaced by a background image using css and the text being moved a mile or so off to the left of the visible screen area.
I want to do it, but never dared to.

2:20 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your replies. It is not exactly an image. it is a php page called through an image tag. It works, but Im worried about being penalized by hiding this url in an IMG source and invisible div.

Anyway, I believe I should replace this with something more safe.

Thanks again.


7:54 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Make it a one-by-one pixel gif which is always clear, and put the gif in robots.txt so spiders don't screw up your stats (although they still will on occasion).
2:17 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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First it isnt a link, and it is just calling a php script to get an image, its just same as placing an image in a hidden div. I do not thing there is any reason for it to be penalized. But using a 1x1 transparent gif would be better as kaled said some browser might not fetch it and as such the php script will not run for them.

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