Programming Comments DO NOT = Hidden Text

A short story, if I may.

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a diligent young computer science student sat eagerly attentive in her C++ programming class. Her formidable instructor was droning on and on about how Programming Comments were the basis of all that is good in the world of software design. Then at last, those famous words, “If you do not comment your code, you will automatically drop one (1) letter grade.”

To a girl working her way through college with aspirations of a Bachelors degree in Computer Science, grades were of the utmost importance.

And it was just that simple. With those few words, Programming Comments had a new and important meaning.

I’m also guessing that there must be a few other Computer Science degree holders that work at Google, Yahoo and MSN that had similar formidable instructors who also taught them the importance of Programming Comments.

So what is Programming Comment? A Programming Comment is nothing more than information, often simple explanatory text that is embedded in the source code of a computer program that is neither read nor interpreted by search engines or browsers.

Wikipedia’s Definition – Read More . . .

Comments are not displayed in any browser – Read More . . .

Finally, please don’t be fooled.

Programming Comments are NOT considered to be Hidden Text.

So why am I taking the time to share this information? The main reason is because we want all innkeepers to be aware of what is and what is not considered Hidden Text by Google in order to be able to deal with suspect solicitors.

We were recently contacted by one of our innkeepers who had been solicited with the threat that Google “MAY” Ban their site due to Programming Comments, saying the Programming Comments were Hidden Text as described in the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

This is NOT a true statement.

So, we ask ourselves, “Did this solicitor not understand what was and what was not considered to be Hidden Text?” Or did they know, but still use it as a scare tactic in order to get business? Either way we answer this question, the answer is NOT good.

Take a moment and look at the actual Google Webmaster Guidelines, you will find nothing that declares the use of Programming Comments as Hidden Text. There are many types of hidden text, but Programming Comments is not one of them.

We can prove this 1 of 2 ways.

1 – Put the Programming Comment in question in double quotes and do a search on it in Google. You won’t find any results, because Google doesn’t read comments, thus those Programming Comments will not be found in any of their search results.

2 – Or you may do a search in Google for the page where you have a Programming Comment located in the code. Once you locate the page in Google

  • click cached
  • click cached text only
  • left click on the margin and view source
  • you will not be able to see the comment in the indexed text because Google simply IGNORES all Programming Comments. They are just not there.

Additional Articles

Programming Comments are not Hidden Text, they are just Ignored when it comes to search engines and browsers. Read More … This article explains in detail, with examples what hidden text truly is, and what is not.

And the Documentation for Infoseek is specific, when a site is added to Infoseek’s index, all the words on the page are included with the exception of any text within a field. Read More

Finally, there is a happy ending to this story. The innkeeper who was solicited, contacted us at Acorn, as we encourage all our customers to do if they receive unsolicited solicitations that cause concern or confusion.

This customer has had the same code in place for 5+ years, and has only steadily climbed in the Google rankings for their top search phrases, not to mention has steadily increased their business.

They had already realized that if what the solicitor said was true, then why hadn’t they been Banned years ago? Because it wasn’t true. It is a typical tactic used by companies who are looking to scare you into signing with their company.

The Moral of the Story? Beware of those soliciting you. Get help, ask questions or do some homework on your own to see if what they are saying is actually true, or just a sneaky way to try to get you to use their services.

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