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redirects, hidden text & meta refresh = spam no longer?

2:04 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In my day redirects, hidden text & meta refresh = spam is this not the case anymore? yahoo search, bing and Google all giving this site a first page listing plus #1 in the new Google for a VERY high traffic generic keyword. The site is the corporate site of one of the biggest companies in the UK.

Anyone have any thoughts

5:47 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm also worried about performance regarding this issue, but in a "legit way". I think it's a gray area. We're having some problems with some sites that require some pretty scary redirects.... but there's some cases where larger complex sites will change content mechanically and force some pretty weird code. If it's a top performer, then there's caching engines as well that may force engineers to place brutal redirects.

the hidden text, well now... don't be shy and do tell us the site.

10:08 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

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If hidden text cannot be made visible on screen by some user action, that's still considered spam.

One challenge Google faces is that such true hidden text is very hard to detect algorithmically in these days of CSS, DHTML, AJAX, etc. So Google relies on their army of human reviewers quite heavily in detecting true hidden text.

Another challenge comes with websites for major companies - the kind of website that searchers might 100% expect to find in the search results for a given word - sometimes even a generic word. I don't mean that Google doesn't penalize the big boys on occasion - but when they do, the company can get restored quite quickly after a fix. And sometimes they do seem to "let it slide", especially when the ranking is not really influenced by the hidden text [that's my guess].

When it comes to redirects and meta-refresh, Google does not make black and white judgements. They also consider the intent - whether the redirect or refresh is trying to be deceptive or not. They are mostly focused on what they call "sneaky javascript redirects". Their current Guidelines page [google.com] has some examples: