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Hidden Content and its Impact on SEO

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 12/07/225 min read
Hidden Content and its Impact on SEO
Want to improve your SEO? This is how leveraging hidden content can have an impact on the same.

Table of Contents

● What Is Hidden Content?

● History of Hidden Content

● How Can You Hide the Web Page Text?

● Impact of Hidden Content on SEO

● Why Should Marketers Use Hidden Content?

● How to Find Hidden Content on Website?

Google follows strict guidelines to keep search engines clean. Imagine landing a webpage stuffed with keywords and no valuable information. It’s no surprise that it is misleading and deceptive for the users. Thus, Google either removes such web pages or lowers its search rankings. That’s why they say ranking on Google through search engine optimization (SEO) takes time; however, there are still marketers who follow the practice of hidden content.

Whether you are an SEO expert or just starting, you may have heard about hidden content. The debate is still ongoing on whether digital marketers should follow this practice or not. This guide will talk about the meaning of hidden content and its impact on SEO. Furthermore, you will even learn to find hidden content on the website. Let’s start digging deeper.

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What is Hidden Content?

Hidden content is textual content or links of a website that appears to Google but are invisible to website visitors. This text content appears in the source code, often a black hat SEO technique. The SEO trick is believed to improve SEO rankings; however, it manipulates the Google algorithm and is against the guidelines.

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History of Hidden Content

SEO started becoming a popular practice in the 1990s. Back then, marketers used to leverage hidden content. After all, at that time, Google didn’t have a streamlined and refined process to eliminate such practices. With technological advancements, the search engine process has become increasingly refined. Today, search crawlers can find hidden content on websites more efficiently.

The rules of the game are different now. While hidden content was initially the most commonly used practice, it isn’t anymore. Using the hidden content technique to improve your SEO rankings may work in your favor — but, as mentioned before, it is now considered a black hat SEO trick. As the Google search engine has become more advanced, this practice may harm your SEO strategies and outcomes.

How Can You Hide Web Page Text?

If you consider hidden content, there are multiple ways to leverage it. Let’s take a peek-

1. Using a white color font

One of the most common ways to leverage hidden content is using a white font color on your web page. You can place the white font color on a white background web page. How does it help? It doesn’t allow visitors to see the spam text. If visitors can’t see the textual content, the chances are that even Google would miss it. It’s definitely a winning situation for you; however, ensure that you place the font at the end of a web page.

2. Cloaking

Cloaking is considered a violated technique, according to Google guidelines. But, it is one of the best ways to hide the textual content. This technique is used to present different information to both visitors and search crawlers. The content that a user could see will be completely different from that perceived by a search crawler. Marketers use this hidden content practice to boost the search engine rankings for a particular keyword.

 

 

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The question is, how is cloaking done? It is done by using JavaScript and user agent sniffing. You will, of course, need specialists to crack this. Moreover, your business website needs to provide relevant content to search crawlers to improve your search engine rankings.

3. Hiding text through URLs

Although Google tends to remove URLs that appear to be spammy, you can still use them smartly to use hidden content, per your SEO strategy. Remember, every time you read a long article, the web pages display the ‘’Read More’’ option to visitors.

 

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It’s a very clever way to hide your text from search engines. Eventually, when visitors see the “Read More” option, it appears as normal text. Once the users click on it, they will be able to access the content. It may look spammy, but in reality, it isn’t because it is what search crawlers see and not the visitors.

The practice of hidden content may be manipulative; however, the tables may turn in your favor if played smartly. So, are you all set to align the hidden content strategy with search engine optimization?

 

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Impact of Hidden Content on SEO

Google algorithm has been advancing over the years. The use of hidden content may not necessarily yield the desired results. This black hat practice violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and it may penalize your website. And that may even result in the elimination of your webpage. The results will be for you to bear — brand reputation at stake, decrease in website traffic and conversions.

Many people believe in this myth — hidden content is great for long-term results; however, in reality, it isn’t. This practice is usually suitable for brands who seek short-term SEO solutions. It is a risky technique because it may even result in the loss of existing customers. Therefore, use it wisely. In simple words, follow this practice only if it is necessary.

Why Should Marketers Use Hidden Content?

Even though hidden content can appear to be spammy, you can still use it for the following reasons:

1. Increase in the density of website

SEO is a slow and tricky process. Sometimes, you may want to opt for shortcuts (even though it is not advised). This shortcut is the injection of hidden content. While you plan to use this process, ensure to fill in the hidden text with keywords. We all know that keywords can improve your site’s ranking; follow this practice to promote your website or a particular web page.

2. Improved site usability

One motto of web design and development is to enhance the user experience. Hidden content is probably one of the best ways to improve your site’s usability. Remember, the better the website, the better the user experience.

 

 

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Even though hidden content is used by many, some still oppose its use in SEO. If you belong to the latter group, you may look for ways to find hidden content on a website. Here’s how you can do it.

How to Find Hidden Content on a Website?

1. Look out for text or links hidden by the background color

One of the common methods of hidden content use is to hide text by using the same font color as the background. Many people choose to go with this method as it is difficult for Google to see through the same color font and background. Many add style codes to their web pages to hide the spam text or links. Thus, if you are looking for such texts, check out the white area on your website.

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2. Scan the punctuation marks

Yes, this may come as a surprise to many people; however, many hide links even in punctuation marks. Usually, they hide links in different punctuation marks to promote a particular link or content.

3. Check out the links hidden behind the images.

Like background color, even images are commonly used to hide textual content. If you are a digital marketing expert, you may have heard about image alt attributes. Yes, that’s where you can find the hidden text.

4. Open the source code.

If you are looking for hidden text, open the website’s source code. This way, you will be able to look for text that was not visible to you beforehand. Moreover, you can even scan the information in case you are unaware of the website’s source code.

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In Summary

The traditional practice of hidden content has favored marketers; however, it is advised to avoid this trick unnecessarily. If you leverage this practice with your SEO strategy, then use it wisely. Google can easily find hidden content on a website. You need to be familiar with the guidelines and practices.

FAQs

1. Do marketers still hide text in their posts?

The answer is both yes and no. While some are against this practice, many use it to optimize their web page. It is believed that people who want to gain short-term solutions may use this old technique; however, consider the practices before leveraging hidden text in your post.

2. Is the practice of hidden content risky for businesses?

It is! As technology has advanced, so has the Google algorithm. It is not easy to hide textual content. If the search crawlers get ahold of you, they may lower your search ranking or remove your web page. You definitely don’t want to invite either of the scenarios as it may even lead to a fall in conversions, negatively impacting your brand image.

3. What is Google’s stance on hidden content?

According to Google’s Webmaster manual, hidden content is considered a black hat SEO trick. If a web page is caught in this act, it may remove the page from its index. Google is stern with its guidelines; it is advised that marketers adhere to the rules and regulations. The purpose is to benefit the readers by providing value, not spammy content.

4. Are there any other practices that should be avoided for SEO?

One such practice is keyword stuffing. Unnecessary keyword stuffing may lead to search penalties and decrease your chances of a higher ranking on search engines. This practice won’t do any good to your business and only hamper the results. Avoid it and use relevant keywords for your website.

5. Is it easy to find hidden content on websites?

It is a complex process. But, if you follow the right process, you may find it easily while saving both time and effort.