Friday, July 31, 2009

Kay's new website gets banned from google search...

The Austinist has been staying on top of Kay's gay rumor thing (link). Excerpts follow...
UPDATE: The site has indeed been removed from Google's search results. As Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, explained via Twitter: "Hidden text is a violation of our quality guidelines. We've removed the site from our index, and tried to contact the site maintainers by email to explain that the hidden text was the cause for the site's removal from index." The site doesn't appear in the results for a search for "standbykay" at the Bing or Yahoo search sites, either. Removal of the hidden text would allow the site to appear in search results again.

The Statesman reported this morning that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's new website for her gubernatorial campaign contained a list of more than 2,000 hidden keywords, including "rick perry gay".

Campaign spokesman Jeff Sadosky said later that the "gay" statements would be removed, but indicated the rest would remain. Current phrases include "the african american in texas" and "death of frank madla". (You can see the list by going to the site and then selecting "View Source" from your browser's menu.)

That might not be enough to get Hutchison out of the woods on the Web, however. Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land and one of the leading authorities in the field of search-engine optimization, said that no matter the purpose of the hidden text, the practice went against standard webpage building procedure.

"My opinion is that regardless of the exact word, the campaign web site is in violation of the major search engine guidelines that prohibit the use of hidden text as she’s doing," Sullivan said.

The technique of loading up a page with hidden words and phrases is no longer an accepted or effective way of driving web traffic, and could even have the opposite effect.

"Sounds like someone fairly unsophisticated about SEO decided that shoving all these words into the page was a good thing. It’s a technique, however, that could get the site banned on Google and other search engines," Sullivan said.

Dirty tricks will come back to bite you.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.