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Installing Kontera WordPress Plugin Would Risk Getting Your Blog Penalised By Google

July 13, 2007 by  

I was reading JohnChow.com when I came across a post about a plugin for Kontera from Shupe.ca. The developer claims his plugin will help Kontera publishers install Kontera ContentLink on their blogs easily

As a Kontera publisher myself, I could see how this plugin facilitates Kontera ads integration into my blogs. Since I was planning to install Kontera on several of my blogs and didn’t fancy tinkering with the code, I had decided to give the plugin a try.

Once activated, I noticed that the plugin was installing extra code into my blogs footer in addition to Kontera ContentLink code. However, the extra code was hidden with Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).

Below was the extra code:

<div style="display:none;visibility:hidden;">
<ul>
<li>
<a href="http://www.shupe.ca/articles/wordpress/plugins/kontera-dynamicontext/?version=2.0" title="Rodney’s Kontera DynamiContext Plugin">Rodney’s Kontera DynamiContext Plugin</a> plugged in.
</li>
<li><a href="http://www.rodneyshupe.ca/" title="RodneyShupe.ca">RodneyShupe.ca</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.rodneyshupe.com/" title="RodneyShupe.com">RodneyShupe.com</a></li>
<li>Check out Joomla Resources at Rodney Shupe’s<a href="http://joomla.rodneyshupe.com/" title="Rodney Shupes Joomla Resource">Rodney Shupes Joomla Resource</a>.</li>
<li>Check out WordPress Resources at Rodney Shupe’s<a href="http://wordpress.rodneyshupe.com/" title="Wordpress Resource">Wordpress Resource</a>.
</li></ul></div>

Below is the resulting output if the text isn’t hidden.

kontera.PNG

 

According to Google Webmaster Guidelines, and I quote

hiding text or links in your content can cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy since it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors.

and

If your site is perceived to contain hidden text and links that are deceptive in intent, your site may be removed from the Google index, and will not appear in search results pages.

Now I don’t see how the hidden text added by the plugin developer is necessary here. Clearly it’s there to gain some search engine advantage in a deceptive manner and this can be mistaken as spamming by Google.

The code uses the following style sheet code to hide the text

<div style="display:none;visibility:hidden;">

The visibility: hidden hides the text, but it takes up space in the layout while the display: none removes the text completely from the page and it does not take up any space even though the HTML code is still present in the source code.

Matt Cutts has written in his blog that he doesn’t recommend people to use the above CSS formatting to hide text.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I hope the developer will consider removing the unnecessary code to save unwitting bloggers from Google penalties.

I came across an alternative Kontera plugin by Big Bucks Blogger.com that seems to be more versatile than the Kontera WordPress Plugin.

Pay per post publishers will be happy to know that this plugin will let them keep Kontera links out of their pay per posts. To be honest, I haven’t tried it myself. If any of you have, please share your experience in the comment section.

Update: Kontera WordPress Plugin Update: Adding Invisible Links Is Now Optional but…

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17 Comments »

Comment by uday
2007-07-13 21:59:39

good work gaman. I was considering this. Luckily i did not and went by a traditional installation,

 
Comment by bob
2007-07-13 22:40:36

good post. you will get a goal penalty la by google.. :)

 
Comment by hongkiat
2007-07-13 23:42:38

Nice observation, I guess Rodney have some explanation to do.

 
Comment by lilian
2007-07-14 00:32:29

Thanks a lot, Sherlock. I have deactivated the plugin and I added the whatever extra php before the body and now, the traditional method brought up my kontera already.

 
Comment by chrisblogging.com
2007-07-14 02:42:01

This is quite interesting. Thanks for the great information. I was thinking about using that plug-in as well…

 
Comment by Izwan
2007-07-14 12:15:11

Wow that’s an extra homework you did right there. Some bloggers (like me) just simply download and activate the plugin without hesitation the author might put sneaky code there just to put credit to himself.

Hmm

 
Comment by Blogging
2007-07-14 12:24:34

I was actually thinking about installing this plugin, but now if I do install Kontera I will do so manually, thanks for the tip

 
Comment by Ahmad Uzair
2007-07-14 14:37:03

good work Gaman.You already saved a thousands sabahan readers that be Kontera publishers.

 
Comment by Pai Subscribed to comments via email
2007-07-14 20:06:10

i realized lately that most of the snippets/scripts given have a hidden link which is styled with “display:none;” properties.. whats going on? are people desperate to be indexed these days?

anyway, good info Gaman! :)

 
Comment by Wahlau.NET
2007-07-15 15:22:38

nice find

 
Comment by Alex Choo
2007-07-16 17:38:43

Your observation is spot on.

Google doesn’t like any activity that looks like an attempt to juice up PageRank.

In fact, many paid text link programs are at risk too.

I’ve blogged abt this here.

http://www.wptextads.com/blog/2007/05/17/does-google-hate-paid-links-not-really-says-matt-cutts/

If you’re blogging on WordPress and want to sell text links, do consider WP Text Ads.

I’m the developer of this free plugin that lets you sell text links directly to advertisers. This means you pay no commission and get paid instantly.

To avoid being penalised by Google, the links have rel=”nofollow” attribute turned on by default (which you can turn off).

Furthermore, you can sell ads by the home page, blog wide or per-post.

Thanks :)

http://www.wptextads.com
http://www.wptextads.com/blog

 
Comment by nyunyu
2007-11-27 17:47:23

You’re really saves me from getting banned by google. Thanks. I installed kontera default plugin and it works just fine. Looking forward to try bigbuck’s plugin and see how it went.
http://www.nyunyu.info

 
Comment by Planet Lowyat
2007-12-24 23:53:35

Never try Kontera yet. Let’s see when will be the next text-ads-link?

 
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