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Random text on home page. Thumbs up or down?

Is this going to help or hurt my rankings?

     
5:35 am on Jun 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I found this little script on the internet and wanted to know what everyone thought about it? The most important question is will it help make my home page rankings or is it considered spamming. I'm not going to add it right now as MSN just moved us up to 3 on our main keyword.

<script language="JavaScript"> // by Paul Davis
var txtList = new Array()
txtList[txtList.length]="Free%20Shipping%20on%20all%20orders%20over%20$50";
txtList[txtList.length]="Orders%20over%20$50%20recieve%20free%20shipping%20everyday!";
txtList[txtList.length]="Shipping%20is%20free%20on%20all%20orders%20over%20$50";
j=parseInt(Math.random()*txtList.length);
j=(isNaN(j))?0:j;
document.write(unescape(txtList[j]));
</script>

9:33 pm on July 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Search engine spiders will not execute javascript - no effect.
9:17 pm on July 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Certainly they *could* execute it, and there's good reason to think they do.

Just look at how JS can be abused—simple cloaking, hiding page stuffing, putting promotional language above Adsense ads, etc. etc. With all these possibilities, it would be foolish to imagine Googlebot ignores JS entirely.

10:06 pm on July 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Stroud:

With #3 placement for your main KWs I would not risk anything that looks dodgy
or questionable. I'd invest the time and effort into content first. -Larry

3:02 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Why would that be spamming?

It is just a different text being shown each time a visitor comes in. Just like a random tip or a random advertisement. There is no cloacking, or whatever, involved.

Don't you think that you guys are taking things a bit too far with all this Google penalty thing?

Enrique

3:09 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It wouldn't necessarily be spamming. What you suggest has lots of innocent, useful uses. The question is: how can Google tell the difference? Cloaking too has its legitimate uses. But we avoid it because it's hard for a program to tell what's legitimate, and what manipulative.
3:54 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> Why would that be spamming?

doesn't matter if it is or not...if Google's algo says it is. Why not use a php or perl thing?

on edit: I have no idea if javascript is Google's bad side or not, just saying.

4:13 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I installed it on one of our pages, but G has us in the dumps after bourbon, so I don't know yet what effect if any it might have.

Mike

7:11 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A PHP or Perl thing to rotate text could also look like spamming.
8:37 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What if you were to do the same in asp?

How does google see that?

8:37 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We use a PHP script to rotate images on the home page of 2 websites for the last 10 months and there was no problem at all with our top rankings.

It was not done to fool Google but to enhance our user experience. I don't think Google would have any problem with it, as long as it's not used very heavily.

11:06 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thats what I thought.

The script I use on my front page displays 2 different featured widgets, one on each day. I hope google doesn't throw it's dummy out of it pram at that.

11:56 am on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you put on a page a text that makes no sense for users, it's enough to call it (minor) spamming. There are many better ways.

If you want artificially fresh content, you may rotate some informations on the page, for example, always show different news. If you're sure Google would like it. I'd rather not use a script that randoms it every visit, but every hour/day depending how many crawls do you get, so there would be approximately 2-3 freshbot crawls per one content update - this would look more natural to G than serving different content every time.

As for javascript, I may be out of date right now, but a few days ago Googlebot still tended to ignore javascript. I did something that convinced be strongly about it.

I had problems with a site using frames. I described it in details here: [webmasterworld.com...]
but what's important for this discussion, I noticed that links inside NOFRAMES tag are not followed, while putting it in javascript <script type="text/javascript"><!-- document.write('<NOFRAMES>'); // --></script> leads to normal following of such links. Before hiding NOFRAMES in javascript this site received no deep crawling for months, while after doing it a complete crawl of entire site begun two hours after freshbot noticed the change. Pages were crawled by bots with both 'Googlebot' and 'Mozilla (Googlebot)' agents and are in the index since then, ranking perfectly.

For me it's enough to be sure Gbot don't care about javascript, even as primitive as I shown above. If you make javascript in external .js files, you can check server logs if any Google IP gets them.

But I agree that there would be sense in parsing javascript for Google, so I expect it to do it eventually, and I can't be sure they didn't start doing it just today. So I wouldn't risk doing any black-hat things with javascript. And it you intend to use javascript not to hide something from G, but to show it, I've got no doubt it won't work right now.

1:15 pm on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Since they don't seem to be keeping a record of which version they use its probably not real opitimization but it looks like standard A/B testing, something that Google actually reccomends for optimizing Adsense code.
2:51 pm on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I can't believe that all this thread is about the risk of rotating a three or four word text in a homepage!

I still believe this has gone too far.

Enrique

4:25 pm on July 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think it's important to know, that if the word "Javascript" occurs on even one of your pages, the whole site is thrown into the sandbox until Sergey's next birthday.

But seriously, we're just riffing off a topic. I take it for granted that at some point JS tricks get you in trouble. That doesn't mean that a script that shows the time will send you into SERP Hell.