A few days ago, we talked about organic link building; what it means and how it affects your website’s ranking in the search engines. Today we’re going to go over information pertaining to hidden text. Hidden text is one out of the many types of over-optimization and search engine spamming techniques that Google has been cracking down on lately.
What is hidden text?
Hidden text is text placed within website code like normal text would be, only in this case, strategies are used to hide the text from visitors of your website. There are several ways that text can be hidden, such as:
- Using CSS to move it off of the page
- Making the text the same color as the background of the web page
- Making the font size so small that it can’t be seen easily
- Positioning text so that it is behind an image and can’t be seen
There are quite a few more, but the basic idea is hiding text from visitors, but not from the search engines.
Why is hidden text bad?
Hidden text is considered a black-hat SEO technique because it’s deceiving. The purpose of using hidden text most often centers around shoving more keywords on a web page than there’s room for. Rather than filling up a web page with content that’s so stuffed full of keywords that it can’t easily be read, those who take part in this practice will simply hide the text. This way the search engines can see it and pick up on the hidden keyword, but the website will look normal to website visitors.
It’s bad because the search engines really frown upon websites that try and gain an upper hand in the search engine rankings by using deception. It’s deceiving to place hidden text on a website or web page just for the sake of trying to gain search engine rankings.
If your website has hidden text…
If your website has hidden text, you may have seen a decrease in pagerank over the past couple of weeks due to Google’s Penguin update (anti-web spam algorithm). Worst case scenario is that your hidden text caused your website to become hidden for good in the search engine results. Having hidden text may cause your website to receive a penalty or it could be banned from Google for good.
If you’re using hidden text on your website, now is a good time to reconsider your strategy. You can choose to leave it there, but eventually it’s going to found and it may be held against your website. It’s best not to have any hidden text so that you’re adhering to Google’s guidelines.
Hidden text isn’t as big of a problem as it used to be as it was quite a few years ago when websites first started getting penalized for using it. It hasn’t been a common practice for awhile, but some older websites still contain it and there’s also a chance for website owners to completely forget about it hidden text was placed years ago.