Are you unintentionally spamming search engines?
Are you sure that your website is free of hidden text? There
are many ways to create hidden text unintentionally. By checking
your web pages, you make sure that you won't be penalized
for something you did not intend to do.
Why is hidden text a problem?
Google doesn't like hidden text and hidden links at all.
Here's the official text from Google's guidelines:
Hiding text or links in your content can cause your
site to be perceived as untrustworthy since it presents
information to search engines differently than to visitors.
Hidden links are links that are intended to be crawled
by Googlebot, but are unreadable to humans. [...]
If your site is perceived to contain hidden text and
links that are deceptive in intent, your site may be
removed from the Google index, and will not appear in
search results pages.
How can you hide text on your web pages?
There are many methods that allow you to hide text on
your web pages:
- using white text on a white background
- including text behind an image
- using CSS to hide text
- setting the font size to 0 or a negative value
If you wittingly use some of these methods on your web
pages, you should make sure that you remove them as soon
Are you sure that you don't use hidden text unintentionally?
There are a few legitimate reasons to hide text on a web
page. For example, you could use CSS to replace a text
link with a more pretty graphical button.
Many content management systems (CMS) use the CSS display:none
technique to create drop-down menus or other expandable
web page elements. Although these elements are not designed
to mislead web surfers, search engines might interpret
the hidden texts as a spamming attempt.
Another way to create hidden text is to provide enhancements
for visually impaired people. If a lot of text on your
website can only be seen by screen reader software and
not by regular web surfers then some search engines might
misinterpret this as spamming.
How can Google discover hidden text on your web
It's relatively easy for Google to find out if your website
contains hidden text. However, it's difficult to find out
whether a page uses hidden text for legitimate reasons
Google's spam filters might be applied to your website
if the following happens:
- The hidden content contains keywords that are unrelated
to the rest of your content.
- The hidden text contains too many keywords. If a large
part of your web page content is hidden, your website
might look suspicious.
- You overuse "legitimate" ways to hide text on your
web pages. This might flag your site for a human review.
- One of your competitors reports your site to Google
because he detected spam techniques on your sit
Google won't ban your site if you use hidden text in a way
that appears to be legitimate. They try to detect intent.
Don't try to cheat search engines. If you use ethical
search engine optimization methods then you don't risk
getting banned from the search results.