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  1. #1
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Bad or Not? Site spam using same text and background color w/ keywords.
    Yes, I have seen it before. Many times in fact. But to see it from someone here at ABW who has this type of site in their sig made me have to ask.

    Is it black hat or gray hat to have keyword text at the bottom of your homepages the same color as the background?

    You are smarter than you look. (lol---Just kidding.)


    -sfcom


  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Very bad in the eyes of search engines. If they're going to do that, they deserve what they get.
    Michael Coley
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  3. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Very poor judgment on the part of the site developer. That is a sure way to eventually get kicked out of good results on the major SERPs. Seems like someone has been led astray.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  4. #4

  5. #5
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be pretty difficult for a human to see hidden text on a page unless they knew to look for it?

  6. #6
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    Wouldn't it be pretty difficult for a human to see hidden text on a page unless they knew to look for it?
    Try looking in my first post.

    -sfcom


  7. #7
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    Post Bad Spammers
    Actually many spammers are blog owners because they will copy paste from Google to get their blog to the top position. Thats why Google will use site maps to crawl such spammers and throws their content into spam box. So to avoid our website from spammers we have to hide some content of our website.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    If you have content you don't want to be seen or indexed you put it in password protected directories, not "hidden text" because both Google and any spammers can see it just fine. Google can also see that you have "hidden" it and they will remove your site from their results. Google can and does read css files.

    PS: Try not to awaken old posts unless there is some very important reason to do so. Folks don't like clicking on a post only to see that it was old 6 months ago.
    Last edited by 2busy; August 11th, 2008 at 10:50 AM. Reason: forgot the PS part.

  9. #9
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Just curious how google se discovers hidden text.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    That's an old trick that most search engines are privy to. A long time ago I read that text color is matched to BG color, and when a match occurs, that text is discounted when the page is indexed. I don't believe your site will be removed from G for it. I used to use that technique to hide text, not using scraped content, but instead, reworded original content to get keyword counts up. Unhidden, it would have ruined the look and feel of the page. A one pixel image matching text color used as a background image accomplishes the same thing, but is not detected by the search engines.

    I haven't done this kind of thing in years. Decided it wasn't worth the effort and that well worded original content is as effective.



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  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    Wouldn't it be pretty difficult for a human to see hidden text on a page unless they knew to look for it?
    The mouse pointer will turn to an I when hovering over hidden text, and the text can also be highlighted with the mouse, so it's pretty easy for the user to detect...



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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    Is it black hat or gray hat to have keyword text at the bottom of your homepages the same color as the background?
    I call it neither. It's a commonly accepted method of SEO. I don't believe it's aesthetic though.

    Let the mud fly!



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  13. #13
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    That's an old trick that most search engines are privy to. A long time ago I read that text color is matched to BG color, and when a match occurs, that text is discounted when the page is indexed. I don't believe your site will be removed from G for it. I used to use that technique to hide text, not using scraped content, but instead, reworded original content to get keyword counts up. Unhidden, it would have ruined the look and feel of the page. A one pixel image matching text color used as a background image accomplishes the same thing, but is not detected by the search engines.

    I haven't done this kind of thing in years. Decided it wasn't worth the effort and that well worded original content is as effective.
    This implies the SE's read your external css file in order to match the bgcolor to the text color, which I wasn't aware of.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    I don't know for certain about the CSS. I learned about it relating to standard HTML before style sheets were prolific. 2busy posted above that the CSS is read by SEs though.



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  15. #15
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    I highly doubt processing power is used to determine color of text vs. background, especially with CSS. Most people who use this technique stuff an abundance of various keywords which dilutes the page, and ends up making things worse.

    The main issue is if your site is hand checked and hidden text is found, you'll be nuked.
    [url=http://www.drastictactics.com/]Drastic Tactics[/url] - Performance Marketing Since 1998

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    See Hidden text and links

    ... So, if it's perceived by Google (whatever method that entails) that you have hidden text or links, they may remove your site from the index. There's a lot of it out there so I'd venture to guess that G doesn't automatically test for it.



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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    The Google Webmaster's Quality Guidelines is where I read about it, it's a page related to Boomer's link:
    Quality guidelines

    These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites). It's not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

    If you believe that another site is abusing Google's quality guidelines, please report that site at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport. Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, so we attempt to minimize hand-to-hand spam fighting. The spam reports we receive are used to create scalable algorithms that recognize and block future spam attempts.

    Quality guidelines - basic principles

    * Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."
    * Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
    * Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
    * Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

    Quality guidelines - specific guidelines

    * Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
    * Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
    * Don't send automated queries to Google.
    * Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
    * Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
    * Don't create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
    * Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
    * If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

    If you determine that your site doesn't meet these guidelines, you can modify your site so that it does and then submit your site for reconsideration.
    and at Boomer's link you can read about your CSS being included in their evaluations.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    That pretty much says it all. All the people that come along wanting to know if "this" is ok or "that" is allowed need only to be pointed to the above links. End of discussion...



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  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager Chris D's Avatar
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    Yes, that is very bad in the eyes of the search engine. The search engine does not like it when webmasters fool them or the customer. If you are caught doing such tricks you will be penalized and removing such penalty is going to be a huge nightmare. Dont do it.

  20. #20
    http and a telephoto
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    Locking 2 year old thread bump.
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