Is hidden text visible to search engines?


#1

It’s easier for me to put text in the main image for it to show up well in all sizes of monitors. 
But i’d like to have the same text, even if it’s invisible to users, on the page so that search engines pick it up.
So I wonder if hidden text visible to search engines?


#2

Hi Alex,

Andrew is spot on. It’s considered a “black hat” technique to add permanently hidden content to manipulate the search engine results.

That being said there are certain circumstances where hiding content to improve on user experience due to page design is an acceptable practice, think tabs, accordions, form validations, error messages, animations, the list goes on. 

Not all search engines are equal, both in the areas of market share and how they crawl, index and interpret a page.  Remember that Google has the largest market share and is also able to process javascript and jquery as if it were the user and take any changes of content into account (including hiding/showing content) this is a fact that easily gets overlooked as historically (12-18 months ago) this wasn’t the case.

In your particular case, you should use the Alt attribute as Andrew recommends but also use the Title attribute as well, this one is again, often overlooked, but it offers another place to legitimately put additional keyword rich and/or relevant text without resorting to hidden elements.

Cheers

Stuart.


#3

Thank you Stuart for your in depth advice. 
Perhaps you can clear up something for me: Is it a good idea to include keywords for one’s competitors?


#4

That depends on the context, your chosen campaign type and platform and copyright/trademark infringement. 

It’s certainly a common practice to build competitor campaigns specifically targeting their traffic and customers with a specific offer that will blow them out the water, just be careful not to say anything derogatory or untrue. Make sure you can back up any claims with facts and don’t use any logo’s or trademarked catch phrases. 

If you really want to go the competitor route then pricing comparison tables, and package/feature/product comparisons work well, rather than focusing purely on what they don’t do focus on what you do better or you offer that they don’t. 

Personally, I think this is a very different type of campaign and mindset of the message and would want to run this off its own landing page with properly segmented traffic.

Cheers

Stuart.


#5

Great. I understand what you mean.
Thanks again!


#6

Don’t do it! Hidden text (when you hide it with CSS or make it the same color as your page background) are visible to search engines. However, it’s an old-school SEO tactic that was abused so often that search engines now view it as a spam tactic and it could result in serious penalties for your pages. 

The best option is not to embed text in your images and use a text overlay. But, if you have to embed the text, make sure the image has an alt tag with the same text in it. That will tell search engines everything they need to know without the risk.