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Google Penalty –Hidden

During the infancy of the internet and search engines back in the 1990s, websites can easily manipulate search engine rankings by spamming the living daylights of their website using hidden keywords and hidden content. Webmasters then inserted hidden links into established websites to give their other web properties authoritative backlinks. These tactics, called content cloaking, won’t be seen by visitors to the website, and instead, are meant exclusively for search engines.

Search engines became wise to their tricks and start to ignore such obvious attempts at manipulating them. However, old habits die hard, and some website owners still believe in the effectiveness of such tactics.

Keyword stuffing is just not worth the hassle in the long run. Don’t do it. Image courtesy of Pixabay

Not all hidden contents are bad though

Sometimes, websites have perfectly valid reasons to use hidden content. The most obvious reason is to hide content for paid or registered subscribers. Large publishers like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg uses this method.

Another good reason is for navigation. Many websites use drop down, animated or interactive menus to prevent their entire homepage from being dominated by menus. Large parts of the menu stay hidden until they are moused over. There are also websites which use JavaScript commands to delay complete page loads to speed up load time.

While the reasons above are all legitimate, they are sometimes still hit with a false positive.

Remedy for a hidden content penalty

Whether you’re a relic for the 90s or just unfairly flagged by Google, the remedy for a content penalty is not too difficult. Immediately remove all CSS styling or Javascript commands to hide content from your website.

Remove all hidden keywords that have been stuffed in your website. Review your content, and edit those with excessively high levels of keyword stuffing. This applies to title tags, meta description and alt text for images as well.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, file a Google reconsideration request and wait. Alternatively, out source your penalty recovery to an experienced SEO company who can help expedite the whole process.

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