WordPress SEO advice for Matt Cutts – don’t use css to hide footer links ;)

When looking at the source code of MattCutts.com/blog/ I noticed that the footer links are hidden with CSS. In my opinion that’s a bit sloppy and can potentially be against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Matt “wrote the book” on this type of stuff, so it’s obviously not a deceptive blackhat move. It could be a test. But maaybe it could also confuse other people using the same techniques because “Hey, Matt does it on his blog..”.

Not a huge problem like the subdomain wildcard issue blogged by Martin Macdonald. But I tought I would mention it. And how to quickly fix it.

Google Webmaster Guidelines on hidden text and links

Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines – Google

Looking at the page with CSS

page with css

Looking at the page without CSS

Page without css

Another reason this could be a bit bad, is because algorithms could misread this as an endorsement of those links. Even if the links are hidden from the user. As Matt Cutts and Google, I don’t recommend using CSS to hide text and links. I would recommend removing the section, not hide it from users. Let’s take a look at how to quickly fix this.

How to remove footer links etc. with the Genesis framework

In the Genesis framework you can use hooks and filters in functions.php to remove unwanted elements, like the footer credits text. For examples see the StudioPress snippets page.