Shimon Sandler

14 Methods to Hide Text

This post has a very Black Hat SEO flavor. I do not endorse any of the techniques below. They are a collection of techniques to keep your text hidden on a webpage. Google is vigilant about discovering anyone “spamming” their engine, and if they discover your site hiding text, there is a good chance you’ll be penalized/removed from their index. Remember, BMW?

So, if you want to test how well a Black hat technique like hiding text on a webpage can be, then you should buy a throwaway domain (one you don’t care about), and use it as a testing ground. Make sure the Whois info is different from your primary domains.

14 Methods to Hide Text:

1) Using “Display:none” in your CSS.

2) Noscript tag – Will hide text, but there is disagreement whether or not links within noscript tag pass PageRank.

3) Blend text color into background color.

4) IP Cloaking. Using Cloaking Software like Kloakit, or Search Engine Cloaker ca get the job done.

5) Using the Div tag to hide text:

6) Use the position command to place the text off the viewable screen area;
.hideme {
position : absolute;
left : -1000px;
}

7) Use the “visibility : hidden” command to cause the browser to keep the text in the div hidden;
.hideme {
visibility : hidden;
}

8) Use the z-index command to place the text below the viewable layer. SO, it only appears after a user takes some kind of action…like clicking on a button.

9) Hiding text labels within Forms on a data table.

10) Using Flash files to hide text, and sFIR

11) Font size. Make the font super small. Like -10000px.

12) Alt attribute text. Although, the Alt attribute is not really hidden, because it appears when you mouse over the image.

13) Link Title attribute. This is like an Alt tag, but for a hyperlink.

14) Including text behind an image.

Not all invisible Divs are used in a spammy way.

I’m not sure if Google requests & spiders the CSS, so these particular methods of hidden text might be beneficial for awhile. But, you’re certainly playing with fire. Check out this recent find by Matt regarding hidden text.

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Comments

  1. Don’t you think most of these tips are well-known by GG?

    Funny the 11th ^^

    Julien

  2. A great trip back to the dark side! Trying to work out if I can use any in a legit way to seo flash sites…

  3. > This is like an Alt tag, but for a hyperlink.
    As far as i know, not true.

  4. Tuf,
    Mouse over the hyperlink on #13 to see the Link Title appear.

  5. Found this article through an interview with Matt cuts, although it is a serious subject hidden text, I think many of the point above lie on the border between white and black.

    For example a number of the methods above talk about css, I use a method on my website purely for display, I have JavaScript tabs which control the CSS on a div, this is so user can quickly read my bio all on one page, before going through to the forum or blog articles. The text is not keyword stuffed and is accessible to all users, if JavaScript is disabled then the page elongates and all the text is displayed, so the text may be considered as hidden from the original view, but is fully accessible, what is the general opinion’s on this?

  6. The alt attribute text should NOT appear as a popup tooltip on mouseover. That action is a BUG in IE.

    It is the title attribute text that should appear, and it correctly does so in all other browsers.

    Use the alt attribute with images, and the title attribute with links.

  7. Another way to hide text is to just scribble it with a market pen on your monitor. Then you and only you will be able to see it. Bwa-ha-ha! :)

  8. 1. Susan Moskwa, Google said:

    “As the Guidelines say, focus on intent. If you’re using CSS techniques purely to improve your users’ experience and/or accessibility, you shouldn’t need to worry. One good way to keep it on the up-and-up (if you’re replacing text w/ images) is to make sure the text you’re hiding is being replaced by an image with the exact same text.”

    2. Besides to the alt attribute, the title attribute can also be used in images.

  9. *** This is a repeat of my previous comment with the tags flagged by “(” and “)” so that they will show up: ***

    We were surprised to find a very complex abuse of google features at a site that claims to be alwaysbrilliant

    The goal was apparently to show both MediaBot and GoogleBot only the spam keyword, AND they are stuffed at the top of the page!
    http://www.google.com/products?q=“chewing+gum+removal”

    Here is how it is being done on nearly every product page. (view source on any of the pages and search on “ShowIF”)

    First the started with a (DIV class=”ShowIF”) where class ShowIF is stored in external css as display:none

    Then wrapped the undisplayed text in section tags for adsense telling adsense to focus on these words:
    (!– google_ad_section_start –)

    Within this keyword stuffers paradise, they not only stuffed the keywords, but wrapped the keywords in (h1), (h2), (h3) and (p) tags to make it look like the content had meaning.

    Then at the end of all this, added a wrapper around the real text of the site telling the MediaBot that the remainder of the site should have no weight:
    (!– google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) –)

    It is astounding that they have gotten away with this.

    Not only are the SERPs good, but they also show up in the google shoppoing results, because these keyword stuffed pages are all loaded to froogle.
    (follow the link above which searches on “chewing gum removal” in google shopping and 8 of 10 results are theirs, choose a product then view source to see the actual code)

    It seems that keyword stuffing is alive; but I would argue however that it is not “Brilliant”

  10. Don’t you think that these are black hat techniques and Google may ban your site because of this.

  11. Cthulhu says:

    I actually tried a few of these techniques in a valid way. Had to style something without having access to the outputted HTML. In one div was a text ‘logo’. I needed the div (to expand an A-tag that was around it), but not the logo text.

    Display:none caused the tag to not stretch.
    Text color blending was’t possible, the background image was complex.
    Visibility: hidden worked in Firefox but not IE (8).
    z-index did not work, probably can’t put a div behind a background-image.

    But finally, font-size:0pt worked.

    Thanks =)

  12. very good tricks ,thanks so much

  13. Very much agreed that these should not be used because they do only one thing after a certain stage and that is to hit your site rank badly

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