Google Granted Patent on Detecting Hidden Text and Links

Are you a nasty spammer SEO person who hides links and text on your website? I sure hope not… Because Google was just awarded a new patent for their technology which detects hidden text and links on website.  So if you are one of those people who thought, “I’ll never get caught.” Think again… So let’s take a look at this hidden text and link detecting technology.

According to Search Engine Land, this is “A system detects hidden elements in a document that includes a group of elements. The system may identify each of the elements in the document and create a structural representation of the document. The structural representation may provide an interconnection of the group of elements in the document. The system may also determine whether one or more elements of the group of elements are hidden based at least in part on locations or other attributes or properties of the one or more elements in the structural representation.”

Google Hidden Text and Links Patent

Google Hidden Text and Links Patent

Most search engine optimization experts have known that Google takes measures against this kind of blasphemy for a while. But this patent really solidifies it. The patent actually goes as far as to provide an example of how hidden text can be found.

“In this example, server 120 may detect that the webmaster has overridden the value of the <h2> tag. Normally, the “h2″ tag is a heading size, in which H1 is very large, H2 is a little smaller, H3 is smaller still, etc. Here, the webmaster has used CSS to override the value of h2 to mean “for all text in the H2 section, make the text color almost completely black, and make the height of the font be about one pixel high.”

Google goes on to tell us what this means for a user.

“A viewer of this document would not see the text because it is so small, but a search engine may determine that the text is relatively important because of the H2 heading label. In this situation, server 120 may determine that the text in the H2 section is very small, which can indicate that the webmaster is attempting to hide the text in this section.”

Here we see Google recognizing a very common SEO strategy and taking measures to make sure people do now abuse it.

With all of the new Javascript and Ajax sites out there masking text and links left and right, you can bet that this technology will mean the downfall of a few key websites. Who knows, greater implementation of this guideline could be part of the big update everyone has been discussing. Read more on Google’s guidelines for hidden text.

What do you think of this new patent? Comment below!

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