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Glossary keyword - Hidden Text

Hidden Text

Hidden text is the deliberate intent of hiding keywords on a webpage. Hiding text came into existence as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) emerged. The purpose of hiding texts is to place keywords, phrases, or texts on a webpage to rank higher on Google search results. They may not be of the same content or topic and are not visible to the naked eye.

Previously, when SEO was emerging, and search engines were less complicated, it was possible to hide texts on the webpage to gain ranking. It was also possible to hide links on other websites which linked back to the page that needed ranking. The tactic was called content cloaking. It used to work because even though the hidden texts were invisible to users, spiders were able to crawl it and thus got a higher rank.

But nowadays, text hiding is spam and violates Google’s Quality Guidelines. The hidden texts negatively affect competition rights. Texts that are hidden on websites can be permanently removed from the search engine index and can even get the website penalized.

SEO Professionals Hiding Texts

SEO “professionals” may have many reasons to hide texts. Some professionals hope that by increasing the keyword density on a webpage, it can rank higher in Google. The tactic worked as an effective plan in the late 90s and early 2000s, but it won’t work today.

Hiding links

Links are still one of the powerful ways of ranking a website. Many sites used hidden links from other websites. The links were hidden because they were unrelated to the content on the website it was posted. Google penalized these methods of optimization because it does not focus on quality content; instead, it’s a way to beat the search engine’s algorithm.

Over the years, Google has found a way to improve its capability in determining where a hidden text exists. If an SEO professional get past Google’s crawler without detection, the hidden links will still rank low. It’ll rank low because the quality of the links is poor. Also, Google has manual reviewers whose purpose is to check websites for hidden texts and penalize the website. 

Hidden text is any content in the form of words that remains unreadable or invisible, even though it is being displayed. Usually, this is achieved by setting the color of the text to the same color of the background on which the text is displayed. This renders the text invisible to the user’s view unless it is highlighted. As a common online practice, they serve a number of purposes.

One of the most common ways in use is by websites to hide details like spoilers from users who would rather not view such information. This technique is common on parody sites like Uncyclopedia.

Applications of Hidden Text

In addition, hidden text is also used to conceal data from less savvy internet users who are unfamiliar with a particular website. Perhaps one of the most important applications of hidden text in online content is the spamdexing technique. With this technique, sites apply concealed content to fill pages so it will be detectable by search bots and spiders while real users are blind to these keywords.

However, this technique is frowned upon by Google. Hence, the search engine giant has taken steps against spamdexing by parsing text colors during indexing and checking for transparency. Pages detected to be using hidden text is this manner receive lower rankings which results in lower domain authority. Apart from the internet, texts are hidden in other computer applications like MS Word.

Other Forms of Hidden Characters

There are times that a computer may need to render a hidden text correctly, but this text may not be part of the actual content. In such cases, the text is hidden. Examples include characters used to add space between two or more words or create a new line. These special characters are popularly known as “white space characters.”


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