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Googlebot-specific content

kosher to serve some content just to Googlebot?

     
7:19 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a popular flashcard-style site that is very sparse, content-wise (and I intend to keep it that way).

The AdSense ads served on my home page are appropriate, but on the flashcard (note: not Flash) pages there isn't enough content for Google to parse.

I'm wondering if it's reasonable to serve some descriptive content that's only visible to Googlebot.

Are there other good approaches?

7:31 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's poor form to display different things to normal users and googlebot. What you should do is put one paragraph of small, pale text somewhere in the page.
12:52 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's poor form to display different things to normal users and googlebot. What you should do is put one paragraph of small, pale text somewhere in the page.

Straight out of the frying pan and into the fire.

You'll need to add text one way or another, but anything even close to "hiding" it is inadvisable....

Furthermore, come on. AdSense is Contextual Advertising. If you're going to use AS to monetize a flashcard site (wrong move!) you just can't complain about having to add some real text.

1:57 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What you're describing karaokeyoga is known as "cloaking", where you feed one set of content to the search engines but something else to the human visitor.

If a search engine discover's you're doing that, they will boot your site from the index. It's a dangerous game.

2:16 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I recall reading something about Google having an XML format that lets you submit content about your site directly to Google. Would this be a recognized, legitimate way to "tell" Google what a page is about in lieu of actually putting the content on the page?
2:18 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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That's Google Sitemaps, and all it does is let you give Google a list of all of the pages of your site. Google crawls the pages on its own to figure out what they are about. So I don't think that will help.
2:40 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a good way to get bounced from the Google index and, conceivably, from the AdSense network.