I recently had a great conversation with a really smart internet marketer. He was sharp and bright, but I vehemently disagreed with him on one point.
I mentioned a technique I’ve used to hide keywords from google.
Why would you want to hide words from Google? This short answer is that sometimes you need content on your page this is off-topic. Most of the time that is legal terms and service info. Or it could be a return policy. Maybe you just want to inject a political message into your cute puppy blog. Or maybe you have a black hat and can think of some more nefarious uses. Who knows?
My friend countered that Google has the ability to read text in images, OCR. And therefore it isn’t a legit method of masking your info.
I don’t doubt Google OCR capabilities. Just that they don’t heavily weigh that info and don’t really incorporate it into the main content.
But he had interesting point. So, when there is any question about the way a system functions, turn to the data, TEST IT.
I created new webpage with just a photo. No exif info. No file name of the text. No alt-image text. It’s clean except for the words in the photo.
Try this for yourself.
Search in Google or Bing for this unique phrase found here:
Does it come up for you?
When it does, we’ll know Google has started counting image text more heavily as a “ranking” factor.
Until then, hide in the bushes an necessary!
UPDATED: Dec 20, 2017
Looks like this is no long a valid strategy. Google will index text in photos.