Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing
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Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing


>>Matt: Hi everybody. This is Matt.>>Nelson: And I’m Nelson.>>Matt: And we wanted to talk to you a little
bit today about hidden text and keyword stuffing. So, what does it mean if you get a message
like this in Google’s free Webmaster Tools? The Webmaster console basically says “In our
opinion, your site has hidden text or keyword stuffing.” Now luckily this is a relatively straightforward
thing. But let’s walk through it just so people have the context. So how would you describe
hidden text?>>Nelson: Hidden text is text that’s visible
to computers or search engines but not necessarily visible to users.>>Matt: Mm-hm.>>Nelson: So it could be white text on a white
background and sometimes we see sites using CSS to mark the visibility of the text to
“hidden” or to even move it completely off the page.>>Matt: Yep. Absolutely. And just to be clear.
Like, there are some frameworks that will have JavaScript where the text becomes visible
after you mouse over. And stuff like that. As long as you’re doing a normal sort of idiom,
that’s typically OK. What we’re talking about is, you’ll have a paragraph at the bottom
of the page that’s full of key words. Or something like that. Things that you wanna rank for,
but unless the users see the content on the page, they don’t know whether they can stay
on the page. Whether it’s really the content that they’re looking for. OK, so hidden text is one. The other one is
keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is almost like a grab bag term to describe a lot of
different things. You can be repeating a lot of the same words over and over again. “Payday
loans, payday loans, payday loans.” You can use different words, you know. So
you’re talking about “Free credit cards.” “Credit cards.” “Weight loss pill.” You know.
All sorts of stuff it can even be almost gibberish like. So, if you’re using a program to autogenerate
stuff. And you’re making things that are like, don’t make any sense whatsoever. Maybe you’ve got a spinning program and it
spins really badly. Maybe you’ve got a Markov model program. You paid 99 dollars to somebody,
and you know, it’s just throwing all sorts of keywords out there. But if a regular person reading it would say,
“This doesn’t really make sense. It doesn’t hold together.” Then that’s likely to be something
that we would consider keyword stuffing. OK. So, you’ve gotten this message. You know
what hidden text is. You know what keyword stuffing is. So how do you correct it? What
would you do, Nelson?>>Nelson: Yeah, it’s pretty simple. Just find
the hidden text or the keyword stuffing and remove it.>>Matt: Mm-hm. Yeah. And there’s a lot, you
know, you can “control A.” You can “view the source.” It’s possible, in theory, that you
got hacked. But most of the time if you get this message either you or your Webmaster
or your SEO agency will know actually. “Yeah, OK. We tried to embed these words here.” Or
“We autogenerated a bunch of these words on this page.” And so if you get this message
you should know what was going on. So fix it by removing it. And then the second aspect is to document
it. So we need to know not only that the issue’s been corrected. But hopefully that there’s
a good faith effort that it won’t happen again in the future. So any context, how did it
happen? How do you know that it won’t happen again? Was it a CMS project that, content
management system, that went crazy? Or was it someone that thought he was trying to help
but, of course, wasn’t actually helping? Any of that sort of stuff to help us understand
how the text got there, and what you’re doing so that the text won’t be there in the future
really helps us to make that reconsideration request. Anything we’ve forgotten?>>Nelson: No. I think we’re good.>>Matt: OK. It’s a relatively straightforward
thing. I know it’s stressful to get these messages but we’re trying to figure out what’s
the best user experience. And if a user lands on the page and they don’t see the words that
they were searching for, that’s a really bad user experience. And likewise if they land on a page, and they
figure out “Oh, this was just nonsense text.” Then they get angry. They complain. They’re
unhappy. And so it’s in everybody’s best interests if your pages are returned and users come
to your page because it really does have the content that you promised. That you offered
to people. So if you get this message, just remove the
keyword stuffing. Remove the hidden text. Do a reconsideration request and hopefully
you should be in pretty good shape.

26 Comments

  • Spook SEO

    I think it needs to be pretty blatant and manipulative hidden text to get hit by a penalty for this. Google only targets sites who are using it in massive amounts, for action.

  • MuyBacan.com

    But what happens, as it discusses the issue of repetition of words, when the content is generated dynamically and is part by ejemple, a list of products where each of them has an image that is unique to each product but each product has several options dropdown as well as check boxes and radio buttons where it repeat the names of the options …. What would happen in this case …. Google penalize the site for this repetition of words?

  • Ocean Technologies

    What about one page application that have all content loaded in advance, and shows only minor part at a time (as one page)?

  • Michael Cottam

    Matt, can you affirm that the technique of holding several tabs of content within a page (e.g. description, videos, photos, reviews, specifications), hiding all but the current tab using display:none, and switching tabs via Javascript onclick() on the tab to change that tab's div to display:inline and the previously displayed tab to display:none is NOT going to get the site in trouble, either algorithmically or when inspected by a spam engineer? I'd like to hear that it's ok from The Man 🙂

  • Michael H Rotkin

    Keyword stuffing seems still allowed for smaller local based. Look at organic results as titles and first words of body text are stuffed for example . " Las Vegas seo" . Many industries for local are stuffed a year later. So help? Thx

  • Joseph Asamoah

    What if I hide the text using a display none style and stuff the keywords for what intend to rank for will that be a problem? I personally think NOT as long as the keyword density is below 3%. 

  • Joseph Asamoah

    Secondly in responsive design you may need to hide text so that it does not show on Mobile platforms … I am not a developer so I wonder how developers approach this…

  • Kawdoco

    i need to now  display:none;  CSS property treat like hidden texts?  sometime this is helpful for responsive web designs . hope your reply

    #webdesign   #webdevelopment   #css3 #kawdoco  

  • Brian Hughes

    Great video – just showed it to my client to help him understand and trust what I'm instructing him to do with his website in regards to keyword stuffing. It's not always easy to accomplish but I'm confident that we are heading in the right direction now.

  • Michael Madison

    question: if content is displayed in images, how can I make this searchable/findable via text.
    so this tet would be "hidden" but would not be "stuffing" as it legimately makes the content findable.

  • jean-gobert de coster

    Hello there,
    I have a question about this:
    on my website, I have a search form. The entered search results in something like www.mysite.com/?s=searchQuery.
    Now my wordpress template shows the complete text of every article that contains the search query. I don't like that, but I don't want to make a child theme just for that, or to have to manually change the .php code every time I update my template. So the solution for me is just to use display:none on the text.
    The question is: does google care about this? Since it's a search query, it's not going to be part of the sitemap or anything, so on theory google will never know about this page, right? Now what happens if someone (for some random reason) posts a link to a search result somewhere (facebook, a mail, a comment)… then google will know about that page, right? Does this mean it could impact my SEO?

  • eschelar

    What about text in accordions? I have accordions on every single product page on a site with around 200 products. For cleanliness, the only significant quantity of text visible on pageload is the brief summary. 80% of the text content on the page is in that accordion, with each primary part of the product split into an accordion section.

    When the product page loads, the accordion slide which is visible has a graphical overview using icons to show the basic specs of the item. Those icons all have mouse-hover effects with short text to explain each icon (yes, they work for mobile browsers too).

    I am also considering adding some keywords in there, but this brings up an awkward issue. An example might be if the site is primarily about wheels. But "wheels" is such a broad term that using a search engine would require other words to be more specific (car wheels, truck wheels, bicycle wheels, trolley wheels etc). However, once on the site, that secondary term becomes redundant. On a site about car wheels, you don't have every sentence saying "our wonderful car wheels are the best car wheels in the market of car wheels". People who have found the site already understand that they are wheels for their car and using this wording becomes awkward and unnatural.

    I would like to "manipulate page ranking" by using search terms that might well be used to differentiate our type of product, but in a way that makes it more natural for visitors who don't need "search engine specificity" for general info and body text.

    This probably means that I'm going to be better off writing in text that is invisible and very small or with display:none;
    I'm thinking about adding in a bohemian, functional sentence like <p style="display:none:")Specificity: This product is a car wheel, intended for high performance sports cars and road-legal sports cars or general use automobiles. This item is made from magnesium allow, has 5 lug holes and a star pattern." </p)
    Then, use more colorful language for the actually visible portion for visitors.

    Thoughts on best practices here?

    In actual fact, the site doesn't do car wheels at all, but I'm trying to give a practical example what surely must be a common problem. There must be so many companies that are trying to get rank on commonly used words that don't want to be tangling their results with other similar items. Car wheels in fact are a much bigger industry than bicycle wheels, tractor
    wheels or even cotton spinning wheels.

    I recently discovered that British English uses the words "water butt" for a water reservoir or a water tank. Can you imagine
    being a manufacturer for water tanks trying to get rank on the word "butt"?
    Yet from the POV of Google and accurate search ranking, some British guy looking for "water butts" is not actually looking for weird Japanese porno (and I'm sure there's some argument for the guy running a weird Japanese pr0n site who doesn't want his ranking polluted by people looking for water reservoirs).

    There are enough words with multiple meanings that this has to have been looked at before.

  • Danica Young

    Some of the websites who ranks on local searches have hidden code on other sites' as ahref link to their website. This method is effective for local searches as of this date. I'm wondering how the algorithm checks on it. How are they penalized? Are footer links on website with dofollow can also be penalized?

  • Tim Beckmore

    hello i have a small business that offers a service, but it is not very possible for me to put all the key words onto my home page with out sounding ridiculous. i would like to add hidden text via color matching, as i am a small local business would i be able to do this ? is there someone that i can talk to to check what i have in mind ? i understand that larger companies selling mass products take advantage of this but my service has multiple name eg; tree lopping, Arborists, tree surgeons and adding my small location it would be very helpful for me to use a small hidden paragraph.

  • Fred Showker

    Has Google discontinued policing this? Why does Google ignore the keyword stuffing on this page . . . go take a look — over 1,000 keywords, most duplicated dozens of times, and many many cities listed where the business doesn't exist.

    See : www.place4print.com and peek at the code.

    So Google didn't see this?
    Google missed this one?

    How can we trust Google or believe anything they say when this happens ???

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