Google hidden text penalties
Google wants sites in its index, but it doesn't want sites that use sneaky techniques to increase their rankings. If Google detects a site using these techniques, they penalize the site's ranking (or remove it altogether).
Google has a set of freely available guidelines on the sort of techniques they frown on, but it's often difficult to know when you're breaking them - especially if you're not the one writing the site code.
Matt Cutts (a Google engineer) made a posting 18 months ago showing a site with a ranking penalty due to keywords stuffed into 1 pixel high text.
By a strange quirk of fate, the example he chose was www.villamagdala.co.uk - the hotel where my wife and I stayed the weekend I proposed to her. At the bottom of their home page they have a bunch of keywords in 1 pixel high white text. They still don't know they've been penalized - the hidden keywords were still there a year and half after Matt's posting.
Now if the hotel owners or site developers had used our excellent site optimization tool, SortSite, they'd see they were breaking Google's guidelines on hidden text (and would know about a bunch of other stuff like broken links and usability problems).
Tags: Hidden Text
First posted Oct 2007