According to phonejust.com, hidden content is website content that is not visible to the viewer of a page, but is visible to the search engine crawler. This includes, on the one hand, hidden texts and, on the other hand, hidden links. In most cases, content is hidden in order to manipulate search results. But there are also ways tolerated by Google and Co. to hide content.
More keywords can be accommodated in a hidden text in order to influence the ranking. Often, keyword combinations are simply hidden. This is possible through:
– font properties set font size in the CSS file to “zero”, adjust font color to the background color –
– Hide CSS elements – with commands like “display: none” or “visibility: hidden”
– Hide texts behind pictures
Links are hidden, among other things, because they are not thematically appropriate to the text content. They are only set for the reason to increase the number of backlinks on the landing page, i.e. again to influence the ranking.
Links can be hidden as follows:
– Link special characters that are only visible in the source code, but remain invisible to the page viewer
– Link inconspicuous characters, e.g. dots, hyphens – these are visible to the user but not recognizable as a link due to their small size and the fact that such characters are often simply overlooked.
– The link is not visually recognizable for the user because it does not have the typical “link characteristics” of other external or internal links, eg the same font color as the rest of the text and is not underlined. The link can only be seen when you move the mouse over it.
Use of hidden content for SEO
In the mid-1990s, a webmaster could use a few “tricks” to bring his site to the top of the search results relatively quickly. Hidden content is also a part of this: simply pile up a text section with keywords and make it disappear for the user eye, for example with white text on a white background, but not for the robot.
At that time, search engine robots were not yet able to distinguish this text from other visible parts of the text. Nowadays, however, the robots are so well developed that they can easily recognize this and other hidden content.
The consequences of hidden content – spam is punished
Hiding links and / or text violates the webmaster guidelines of search engine operators such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google, for example, has a very specific guideline entitled “ Hidden text and hidden links”. After all, the procedure is nothing more than a manipulation of the search results and thus falls under the area of Black Hat SEO.
Hiding content on your website can result in a penalty. This can affect a single page, but it can also lead to the search engine operator excluding the entire website from the index.
The search algorithms from Google and Co. are constantly being improved so that hidden content of any kind can be recognized better and better. So it is not advisable to use this method to influence the ranking.
Hidden content – allowed under certain conditions
In this form, the hidden content is not only allowed, it is expressly requested.
Furthermore, hidden content in the form of white hat SEO can be used in order not to negatively influence the design of a page. It can happen that the appearance of a page suffers due to the addition of visible text, because it is then more confusing. This can be solved, for example, by:
– Insert relevant keywords in alt tags and title tags
– Use captions to place keywords
– Mouse-over text
– Buttons to expand and collapse texts
With these solutions, you use the hidden content in accordance with guidelines and in the interests of the user. The prerequisite is, of course, that adding the keywords does not degenerate into keyword stuffing.
Basically, the guideline-compliant use of hidden content means that the content, even if it is hidden, still offers the user an advantage and helps him, for example, with orientation on the page.