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

Sho Kuwamoto skuwamoto at macromedia.com
Thu Nov 17 10:41:06 PST 2005

My understanding of why search engines such as Google don't like hidden
text is that it can be used as a strategy for spoofing search results:

<div class="hide">put innocuous search words here</div> 
<img src="bad_content.jpg" />

Given this, I think that the philosophy of tagging human readable
content with semantics actually is in line with what Google wants, and
should not be a problem.

To the extent that Google and other search engines may not trust hidden
information, they may choose not to index information found only within
the machine readable portion of the document.

Sho Kuwamoto
Macromedia Flex Builder

-----Original Message-----
From: microformats-discuss-bounces at microformats.org
[mailto:microformats-discuss-bounces at microformats.org] On Behalf Of
Chris Messina
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:16 AM
To: Microformats Discuss
Subject: Re: [uf-discuss] Could microformats be classed as spam by

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
> > 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
> of microformats is 'Human readable' any hidden information goes
> 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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