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Black Hat SEO: Explaining Hidden Text

Instead of giving you ideas for online marketing and SEO research, we're going to spend today's Daily Golden Nugget explaining something you should absolutely NOT be doing on your website.

Let's start by explaining that a search engine is simply a machine that follows a set of programming rules. In the early days of the web, the search engines would read a website and evaluate its credibility according to simple factors like how many times a word was showing on the page, or how many links go to a page, what was written in the meta keywords, how many words were bold, etc.

Early web programmers quickly learned how simple the process was to get ranked highly in a SERP. If the competition had the phrase "engagement ring" on a page 10 times, then you simply needed to have the phrase 11 times and you would rank higher.

Naturally it looks rather disgusting to see this on a web page:
engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring, engagement ring

That's the phrase 11 times, and even though it looks rather unattractive, many website owners would add the same phrase hundreds of times on a single page. Once upon a time this technique actually helped to rank you highly in the search engines, but it looked ugly.


To hide its inner ugly, website programmers realized they could put their block of repetitive keywords somewhere on their page (usually the bottom) and hide it by matching the text color to the background color. If the background color was white then they would make the text white. If the background was black they would put the text in black.

This text/background color matching was the earliest form of what we now call "Hidden Text."

Over time, the early search engines realized that Hidden Text could increase SERP rankings and it was deemed an unfair practice. This technique, and many others, were eventually referred to as "Black Hat SEO." Any website using Black Hat methods is considered to be unethical and, when caught, is completely removed from the search engines.

There are many ways to accomplish Hidden Text now, and we know Google is able to detect all of them.

DO NOT match your text color to your background color.

DO NOT put large blocks of text (more than 200 words) in a hidden area of your page using CSS. Typically this is done using the "display:none" style attribute.

DO NOT use any type of JavaScript to hide areas of your page. This one is more advanced, but the idea is that a part of your web page vanishes from view as soon as the page finishes loading. Google can detect that now.

We will cover a few more Black Hat SEO topics over the course of the next few Daily Golden Nuggets.

Knowing about Black Hat SEO is important because you need to make sure any SEO firm you hire is not using these techniques. On the surface, they might seem like easy SEO techniques, but they will get you into trouble.
AT: 09/20/2011 01:05:25 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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