Sacrificing Beauty for SEO

I just sacrificed the design of my site for SEO. I didn’t want to be penalized by doodle so i got rid of all my css classes with text-intent:-9999em for hidden text. So I googled [URL=“”]a site that we share similarities with and I found out that they are using text-indent for their h1. that site is pretty popular. Won’t they be penalized? or am I allowed to do it?

There’s no SEO penalty in moving header text off-screen, so far as I’ve heard. Google realizes that people want to add more style to their headings and other elements than can be done with CSS alone.

im so confused! people keep telling me 'dont use negative text indent to hide your heading tags because google will penalize you if you use any kind of tactic that doesnt represent exactly what the reader sees.

Well, I guess if you go straight to the horse’s mouth, you can interpret Google as saying “don’t hide text via CSS”.

So if you want to be absolutely sure, then yes, don’t do it. It’s strange, though, as designers do this particular method all over the place—not for reasons of spam, but as legitimate CSS techniques. I’d be surprised if Google really whacks people for basic CSS methods like this, but you never know. More egregious are other actions like hiding elements by making them the same color as the background.

Edit: There are some interesting articles on this, such as:

Problem is there are two faces to a website. What you see and what spiders/bots see. Good SEO is about designing what you want and making it very readable by a simple program like search bots.

Design wise your site looks good but coding wise it looks awful, no bot is going to pick up on the content, line 900 and I still don’t see any valuable content.

are you talking about the fact that my code is compressed bro? there really isnt much on the front page but images and mostly text

also, im actually sure that if you put my site through any seo test, it will pass with flying colors. speed tests as well

i found another one doing it with the h1 Touchpuppet - The Best In Fashion Photography
these guys just blatantly hide theirs;
these are both popular sites that are anything but penalized by google

I just checked your site at aboutus(dot)org

Tags all look fine except your meta description is too long. Should be less than 150 words.

View here

150 words is a lot of writing! The meta description is best kept below 150 characters :cool:

Yes 150 characters. My post mistake. Its a simple fix to help seo.

I tell you why 150 characters should be used.Because Google show in the search result only 150 character in description.

Actually while it looks visually awful, if you format the code in Dreamweaver, it’s readable and it’s not that bad at all.

Search engines do NOT care about pretty formatting at all. They don’t care if you indent HTML to make it more readable. Actually, no browser gives a damn about how the code is formatted as long as it can be interpreted.

haha, you guys… my code is compressed purposely. you guys HAVE know compressing your code is a GOOD thing right? i mean, come on

If you’ve got an automated process of doing it (e.g. a script that runs on build from source control) then it can be brilliant in order to keep load times down, but it’s not necessary for SEO purposes.

of course. everyone does it automated. we know it’s not for seo in a sense, but faster loading sites are good for seo

Absolutely not true. It is important for SEO purposes:

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Using site speed in web search ranking

Why would search giants want to index websites that don’t load quickly?

haha, EXACTLY. i expected more from the guys on here. to not know something so basic…