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I'd like your opinions on using CSS to hide layers and tables. I'm in a situation where I'd like to hide a table which has lots of links because it spoils the overall design - can I set the CSS display attribute to "none" and have an external CSS file to reference?
Do search engines read external CSS? ( I don't think they do but....) or do they put less weight on a table's contents that have a class tag definition? ( just in case they are hidden..:-) )
Do any of you have experience with using this technique because I haven't yet tried it and would like some feedback - -ve or +ve
Many thanks for your help and info.
English Boy :-)
joined:June 27, 2000
I noticed your post is not answered, so I am going to rally the troops for you! I do not know of a way to do what you want to do, however, I will find a definative answer.
I am thinking there might be another way you can do this altogether. Can you put a small pixel gif file on your page which links to another page full of links? The gif link would be followed by spiders, but probably not by humans because they wouldn't know to click on it. The spiders would go to the linked page and spider all the links.
I am curious to see the answer to your question, so I am going to try to find someone who can answer your question for you.
The safest mode, and my "First Principle" is always to show essentially the same information to a spider as you do to a visitor. Even if you use a hiding method that is hard to detect, SEs take a dim view of hidden content when they discover it (or someone points it out to them) and their justice is swift!
Therefore I would suggest finding a way to visibly display this table of links. It's by far the safest path. grnidone has a good suggestion, one that is used successfully by lots of reciprocal linking programs.
That being said, in the past few months, several people here have reported spiders taking their external .css files. What the SEs are doing with the info is anyone's guess, and it still doesn't happen routinely.
Certainly search engines are highly aware of the possibilities of using CSS to make information invisible, so my guess is that they are working on methods to detect such techniques automatically, and some day soon they will start to swing the axe!