[uf-discuss] Hidden metadata no microformats

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Tue Jul 3 11:50:46 PDT 2007

On 7/3/07 11:23 AM, "Andy Mabbett" <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk> wrote:

> In message <46898F8C.7090108 at splintered.co.uk>, Patrick H. Lauke
> <redux at splintered.co.uk> writes
>> Paul Wilkins wrote:
>>> You could try the FAQ.
>>> http://microformats.org/wiki/faq
>>>  Where it says:
>>>  Q. Given that Google now looks at hidden content as potential spam,
>>> will  invisible microformats be considered spam?
>>>  A. It is advisable not to hide information in your site, regardless
>>> of  whether it is microformated or not. Microformats provide a
>>> mechanism for  marking up visible content. Any mechanism for embedding
>>> invisible or  hidden content risks being considered spam due to the
>>> fact that  invisible (meta)data inevitably ends up being abused. Avoid
>>> invisible  (meta)data. Publish visible data.
>> FUD.

Not FUD but based on examples publicly discussed and commented on by search
engine company representatives (Google, Yahoo, Technorati, etc.).  It would
be reasonable (and certainly better for us) to have citations since these
generalizations are based on events documented on the broader web.

>> Will Google attempt to parse the complex interplay of CSS and
>> (X)HTML for each page to determine if content is somehow hidden? No.
>> Currently, the way it works is that somebody reports a page to Google,
>> and their team investigates it (cfr the case of BMW in Germany a while
>> ago). There's human judgement involved, and not an automated "hidden =
>> spam" algorithm.

Are you an employee for Google speaking authoritatively on Google's behalf?

> I've updated the FAQ to reflect that.

I've reverted this assertion from the FAQ since AFAIK Patrick is not a
Google employee nor speaking for Google.

> I've still seen no citation for any *prohibition* of hidden data in
> microformats...

There is no prohibition per se, it is simply suboptimal behavior.  Perhaps
analogous to how there is no prohibition of putting aluminum cans in the
garbage which is suboptimal compared to recycling them.


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