[uf-discuss] Could microformats be classed as spam by search engines?

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 10:15:58 PST 2005

On 11/17/05, brian suda <brian.suda at gmail.com> wrote:
> justin norton wrote:
> >  Hello,
> >
> > Could anyone provide an answer to the following:
> > Google recently updated their search engine and now treat text that is
> > hidden through CSS as spam.
> --- do you have reference to this? but it is not relevant because you
> shouldn't be hiding any microformat data with CSS anyway. The first rule
> of microformats is 'Human readable' any hidden information goes against
> this.

I agree that there's much to worry about... microformats aren't meant
to disguise semantics -- only provide a mechanism for marking up the
content you intend to display on a page, typically no more and no
less. Where we embed semantic equivalents in the tags themselves (i.e.
GMT times in abbr tags for times), I don't see how that could be
considered spam.

The matter in question is important though -- if microformats use
grows to the point where they are abused -- in ways that might be hard
to imagine today (who knows, spammers convert all their content
first??) -- what can we do in the design of microformats to stem what
is arguably inevitable? Perhaps it isn't even something worth fretting
over, but it is an interesting problem that's yet to be addressed on
this list from what I've read.

The only other question I have about this move on google's behalf is
what it will mean for techniques like sFIR or text-replacement
techniques like using negative text-indents...


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