Hidden Text Revisited

Okay, so you’ve discovered that someone ranking above you in the search results is using hidden text on their web page.

White, off-white or very light grey text on a white background, a long list of keywords or a paragraph that really makes no sense but is so full of search terms and keyword phrases you’d think a spider would choke on all that crap.

Spammer! Gotcha!

Most of the major search engines have a form for reporting search quality issues, so you fill out the form and wait for the page to drop from the search results so that your own page will move up one spot.

And you wait…..

And you wait…..

And you wait…..

And nothing happens. And you can’t figure out why, search engines are pretty clear about their quality guidelines. Attempting to manipulate the search results should result in the removal from their index.

So you fill out the form again as you’re sure it was just overlooked. Again, nothing happens.

So now you’re thinking “what the fuzzuck does it take to get this spammer out of the search results?”

Well, for starters, hidden text is rarely, if ever, going to get someone manually removed from the search results. The random, temporary removal of a few sites by some search engines is just an attempt to convince you of their ability to identify and remove pages utilizing techniques designed to manipulate the search results.

More importantly, text is just text – hidden or not. If you’re unable to obtain better rankings than a page utilizing hidden text, why do you think you could if the text were visible?  You really should be looking at other factors.

And spam reports don’t qualify as SEO. But, I think you already knew that.