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Monday, March 5, 2007

Hidden Text Can Get Your Website Banned

Posted by @ 8:39 pm

A great way to boost your search engine ranking is to include relevant keywords and text on your website. But go about this the wrong way and you could find your entire website removed from the search engine index. Hidden text is one of the oldest spamming techniques used by search engine optimizers who try to artificially increase the keyword density of their web pages.

Keyword density refers to how many times a specific keyword is included on any web page. In order to maintain a good search engine ranking, website owners should include these keywords throughout the page while maintaining readability for the human visitor.

The ‘black hat’ tactic of hidden text attempts to increase keyword density by placing a large block of unreadable text on a web page. While unreadable to the human visitor, the resulting text is still scanned and picked-up by search engine spiders. A common technique for hiding text is to include it in the same or a similar colour to the background of a page. The Wikipedia entry for ‘hidden text’ has an example of the practice which you can check out here.

Search engine spiders have long been aware of this technique and ensure web pages using this method are dropped from the search index. They may also penalize the entire site even if only one page contains hidden text – so watch out! The overwhelming message here is don’t use hidden text of any kind on your web pages; it will do you more harm than good. On a side note, if you’re keen to see a funny example of this technique, visit the blog of Google’s Matt Cutts.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (2 - comments)

An excellent introduction to perhaps one of the most commonly used black-hat techniques. Hidden text can go a long way to banning your page from search engines. If you want to read more information on some common black hat techniques there is an article available on the W3Edge website. The article refers to SEO Spam and is quite an easy and informative read.

By Kennith Nichol - June 11, 2007

Black hat SEO indeed. Its better not to delve into than compromising your sites.

By Billy Marks - April 12, 2008

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