Posted June 1, 2007 2:17 pm by with 14 comments

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A thread at WebProWorld points out something interesting in Search Engine Land‘s stylesheet:

text-indent: -9000px;

Hm! Danny Sullivan didn’t know about the line of code, which was designed to replace the image logo for SEL with text for those with images and stylesheets turned off (like a certain bot we know?).

Once he was notified of the thread, Danny took a look at the code and replied:

Still scratching my head, I then wondered, “Wait a minute. Is this about my site?” Surely not. But yep, there in our style sheet was the damning code. It’s true. We were totally hiding text and technically might be considered spamming the search engines. Curses — just when I hoped not to be counted among those other search spammers like Google and Yahoo that have been outed for using hidden text.

Danny also said on the thread that he doesn’t approve of this technique and they will fix it once things calm down after SMX.

via the awesome Tamar at the doubly awesome SERoundtable

  • Any bets that some blogger is at this minute, checking the code of every popular SEO blog, looking for a “Top 10 SEO blogs that are spamming” linkbait post. 🙂

    I need to go check our code. 😉

  • Nice find Jordan. 😉

  • Jordan McCollum

    I thought so, too. Good call hiring Tamar 😉

  • okay

    via via 🙂

  • That’s called the Fahrner Image Replacement technique, absolutely NOTHING to do with spam. More info about that can be found on ala:

  • LSF

    This is a standard image replacement technique used extensively across the web. If the image reads what the header text says it’s difficult to see how it can be described as spamming. Some people ought to grow up.

  • As long as they’re not using it maliciously, it’s a common image replacement technique and is actually helping the web become a better place.

  • Poor guys, they even edited their CSS file to read:

    //honest, we didn’t mean to spam. need the explanation?

    And I’m assuming they removed their H1 text, because it now contains a nobreak space. This is even worse! Put your company name back in there, you’ve done no wrong.

  • LOL@Jordan – I see you updated the “via”. Don’t mind Barry, he’s harmless as long as you link to him. 😉

  • See that’s why I make sure everyone knows that I’m not a coder. If something like this happens on my site, I can honestly claim ignorance 😉

  • Yes, as the comments are trying to point out, but “SEO people” seem to be ignoring, is the fact that this is NOT spam. This is a completey acceptable web development technique. Please acknowledge this.

  • I don’t think Google will penalize a PR 7 site for this teeny tiny set back. Oh, well… time will tell! 🙂

  • Pingback: Is this ethical? - Page 2 - WebProWorld()

  • Rin

    I agree James. The SEO staff has the smell of blood now, they won’t back down from the false charge that this is spam. Stop the disinformation: This is not SPAM. This is part of a designers commitment to creating blind-accessible websites.