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

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Thu Nov 17 11:09:06 PST 2005

Hello Sho and Justin - welcome to the list!

I agree that these are very good questions, and thanks to Brian, Chris, and
Sho for providing good analysis and answers.

Could you guys add these Qs & As to the top level microformats FAQ?


Sho's summary about search engines ignoring machine-only readable
information is precisely why microformats emphasize humans first.



On 11/17/05 10:41 AM, "Sho Kuwamoto" <skuwamoto at macromedia.com> wrote:

> 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
> --
> Sho Kuwamoto
> Macromedia Flex Builder
> http://labs.macromedia.com/technologies/flexbuilder2/
> -----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
> searchengines?
> 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...
> Chris
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