Rules for Hidden Text: How to do it without Spamming
As we recently told our Austin SEO audience, hiding text inside content is a webmaster tactic that is likely to lead to aGoogle penalty. Google views the practice of putting text on a white backdrop, behind an image or off the screen to be equal to keyword stuffing and search engine manipulation. Fortunately, you can still add descriptive, keyword-rich text to your content that is acceptable to Google and will not lead to a penalty. Here is what Google Webmaster Tools has to say when it comes to the rules of hidden text.
How to do hidden text the right way, for SEO
First, though, you must test your site for accessibility. Doing this will allow you to see what those readers see when they visit your site. Here are the steps to testing your site for accessibility:
- Turn off Flash and images
- Alternatively, use a text-only browser (i.e., Lynx)
To make this text relevant, Google advises:
- Making image captions:
- “Use the alt attribute to provide descriptive text,” the Google Webmaster Tools page says. “In addition, we recommend using a human-readable caption and descriptive text around the image.”
- Using <noscript> tags:
- Writing video descriptions:
- If you have any videos, they are most likely not accessible to viewers using text-only browsers. In the place of those videos, create text descriptions in HTML – or if you prefer, create full transcripts. This text will may be “hidden” to viewers who are able to see the video, but to Google, it is relevant because it was still designed for human readers.