Yahoo’s nocontent – Hide your Sidebar for SEO

Looks like another cool idea coming out of Yahoo. This time around it’s called nocontent.

This seems to have been a result of the SES Robots.txt Summit in New York.

The only problem is that the implementation is less than ideal.

It’s a microformat. Microformats are problematic for text-only robot parsing since you’re forcing the robot to understand the DOM.

<div class=”robots-nocontent”></div>

Google adsense section targeting is much more elegant:

<!– google_ad_section_start –>

<!– google_ad_section_end –>

Since this is intended ENTIRELY for use within the robot using a microformat is just plain overkill.

There will never be a situation where the browser would need to see this content. Using an HTML comment would be a lot more elegant and easier for robot developers to implement and FAR less prone to error.

  1. I don’t think the comment solution is easier for robot developers, as many spiders compress the whitespace and strip comments on storage. Class and id attribute values might be analyzed to determine if a website is really hiding the content on render with a “display:none” but the commented text is more likely to be thrown out in existing spiders.

  2. Can we please kill Microformats now? Why does Yahoo continue to promote these hacks? This is not a good precendent.

    Is it a CSS class, or is it a data element? Let’s have the data processors guess. And now, to really screw things up, let’s institutionalize this hack for our robots.

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