Hide Links From Google? Google Says No To SEO

Jun 18, 2010 • 8:35 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

SEOmofoA Google Webmaster Help thread started by SEOmofo is clearly out to try to get a Googler riled up. He posted on the topic of hiding links from Google in order to get "an official answer" from Google and that is what he got.

In fact, he even wrote a blog post Hey, Matt Cutts, I’m using JavaScript to hide links from Google, cool? Matt never replied, but JohnMu from Google replied in the Google Webmaster Help.

It is actually a fun response to read, so let me quote it:

I think you're mixing two unrelated topics:

1. You're hiding links from Googlebot. Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing that as it makes it harder to properly understand the relevance of your website. I also doubt that you'd see any kind of visible change with regards to PageRank. Ultimately, that's your choice, just as it would be our choice to review those practices as potential attempts to hide content & links. What's the advantage for the user?

2. You're using late loading of content in an attempt to improve the perceived page loading time. To be honest, given your high level of technical expertise, I'm certain that you could have the full content load within a much lower time without doing that. Personally, I'd go for c) showing the user the full content within less than 2 seconds. It's not impossible -- and not only will Googlebot like it, your users will as well. I find slow loading affiliate sites (regardless of whether or not it's showing some of the content alread) a big pain and a frequent sign of low-quality content. Make your site run like lightning all the time.

Have you seen the stats by Yahoo & Amazon on slow sites? There's some great stuff at http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/ and http://code.google.com/speed/ . Also, did you see http://blog.mozilla.com/metrics/2010/04/05/firefox-page-load-speed-–-part-ii/ ? They estimate 60 million more clicks by making a single late-loading image show up 2.2 seconds earlier. In comparison, you're considering delaying the loading of your affiliate content for users by up to 12 seconds (ok, looking at the waterfall diagram you included, it's not quite that long, but you get the idea)...

So personally, instead of doing these tricks, I'd work on creating a long-term infrastructure that would allow you to serve your content at a blazing speed, all the time, without an attempt to do a short-term optimization for Googlebot.

Seems fairly clear to me that Google doesn't think it is "cool" to use either of these tactics. The "worlds greatest SEO" posted this for what reason? Did he really not know what Google would say to his question or is he trying to cause some controversy? Either way, it worked, a Googler replied, we covered it and maybe everyone is happy.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help and a hat tip to Colin for pointing me to this thread.

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Comments:

Michael brand

06/18/2010 02:10 pm

This is a very interesting read. We started to ad affiliate adverts to our online business directory and noted that traffic fell over time since their introduction. I am convinced that it is the slow load times as a result that has hurt our long tail performance. Delayed loading of ads has been put forward as the solution. However reading this I am not so sure seeing as google may see this as manipulation? Personally I disagree, adverts are not why the user is their so delay loading them doesn't affect there user experience ultimately. Also, some of the ad technology out their isn't always up to the job. Our main culprit seems to have been Tradedoublers Adsense style JS. It may have been the way it was implemented (in fact in fairness to them I'm sure it was), but it was taking up to 5 seconds for an ad to load! It's off now so lets see how it goes. I agree with googles comments overall with regards to the holistic approach to site management and page optimisation but development time is as development time does... and programmers are such fickle folk :)

Michael Martinez

06/18/2010 06:59 pm

And this is exactly why people can safely ignore the World's Worst SEO (that and his hyperflame discussion style).

Mark

06/18/2010 07:23 pm

The bigger part of the entire thread for myself... is the condescending attitude from Google bionic posters, and the mention that it only takes a small inconsistency from the bot to the toolbar (Like a new link that was not previously there) to automatically dispatch a manual review from the next available spamcop. It screams "Internet Police" to me. Google have become too big.

SEO Mofo

06/18/2010 08:48 pm

<blockquote>Either way, it worked, a Googler replied, we covered it and maybe everyone is happy.</blockquote> I'll be happy when Google endorses my brilliant idea. <blockquote>And this is exactly why people can safely ignore the World's Worst SEO (that and his hyperflame discussion style).</blockquote> Come on, Michael...you don't ignore me; my ideas just fly over your head.

Bill Sebald

06/19/2010 03:32 pm

That was exhausting. Compelling idea, but pretty much obvious the way Google would play it if caught. Mu didn't say anything like "it will be caught" which is the typical Google gray. But other than speed concerns, there's better ways to handle the PageRank if you're not spamming. I'm not interested in anything else in the debate because I'm not a spammer. I was convinced in the beginning of the thread.

Steve

06/20/2010 06:58 am

@ SeoMofo Do you sure that u are the best with such an behaviour. for me this kind is like the horse that think it is the world greatest in viewing all the things they may exist and dont see the blinkers beside the head. and with your behaviour the only thing u can be sure is that u miss/forgot something. this kind of seeing the world or being in the world only to be comfortable. but that cant be convenient to your motto. for me that behaviour is like paris hilton have to focus all the eyes at herself because it dont exist an other working way for that.

steve

06/20/2010 07:00 am

@ SeoMofo Do you sure that u are the best with such an behaviour. for me this kind is like the horse that think it is the world greatest in viewing all the things they may exist and dont see the blinkers beside the head. and with your behaviour the only thing u can be sure is that u miss/forgot something. this kind of seeing the world or being in the world only to be comfortable. but that cant be convenient to your motto. for me that behaviour is like paris hilton have to focus all the eyes at herself because it dont exist an other working way for that.

Alice

10/04/2011 06:44 am

Can we use java script to hide hyper links from Google?

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