Black Out Your Google Listing in the Google Search Results

As you know, I am a pretty big fan of Mixx, and I have been using Mixx for a while now, ever since day one. Anyhow, Mixx is not really the focus here; although Mixx is the main reason behind my discovering the fact that you can essentially “black out” virtually your entire listing in the Google search results.

Here is a screen shot of a fellow Mixx user blacking out one line in his Google search result:

Black out Your Google Search Result

I took a look at the Google cache of this page, and it just so happens that this user had decided to put some code in his Mixx profile page that looked really great on his Mixx profile. But, probably by mistake, this Mixx user’s Google search result actually has a line blacked out in the search results.

If you’re wondering what the Google cache looks like, here is a screen shot of it:

TunisianGuy Mixx Google Cache

This search result certainly brings up some questions about Google’s search results. What would happen if you were to use those characters as a meta description tag on an html page and get that page indexed? Certainly it might draw more attention to that page’s Google search result, causing more people to click on it?

Or, in fact, would the reverse happen? Would the users think that Google–on purpose–is blacking out part of the listing? What do you think?

I took a look at the listing on Yahoo! Search to see how Yahoo! handles the characters in their search result:

Yahoo! Search Result

Turns out that Yahoo! knows how to deal with the characters, so there is not any blackout on a Yahoo! search result.

Let’s take a look at how MSN deals with it. Same thing as Yahoo!. No blackouts:

MSN blackout search results

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  1. Todd Mintz says

    That would be great for increasing Click-Thru for porn, though I’m not sure about anything other type of content.

  2. Asia'h Epperson says

    Just wondering how come google can’t handle it whereas MS and yahoo can. Look like google are good in search but, inferior in other areas.

  3. meachel says

    What can we get if we have more clicks .I dont think its gonna work out much people other than porn bloggers.

  4. john andrews says

    Just like the good old days of Alta Vista and Looksmart and Excite and yes, early Google. Stars, moons, hearts, shamrocks, International character sets, whatever could get through to make it stand out.

  5. Best GPT Review says

    Well this would be an interesting psychological experiment. I know I would be more inclined to click on it just because its an apparent anamoly and I would bet that I’m not alone. If a portion of the listing is blacked out on the first page of the SERPs (or any for that matter) wouldn’t this be beneficial as you would be essentially leapfrogging pages above you as people became curious? I mean its not like page isn’t relevant in the first place, it’s a search query return.

  6. Geld Lenen says

    Funny discorvery but I am not going to try it out myself. I think Google can easliy correct this failure.

    Geld Lenen

  7. Birmingham PC Repair says

    I do not understand the point in this? i dont mean to point out what seems to me ‘at the moment’ obviously a strange thing to do, but why would blanking out lines in google be helpful?

    when creating a website from scratch its a pain to search when it is finally cached and seeing how far in the search your listing is that would be the only benifit i would get from this tool.


  8. Birmingham PC Repair says

    ok addition to my last comment… after re reading the blog and follow a few links to find out why…
    i can see the purpose is to have a nice fat black underline to stand your google result out to everyone. nice
    but when i did a search myself for your site i could not find any big black underlines?

  9. Matthijs Enschede says

    Maybe there are other character that produce more positive look to your SERP. Maybe you can produce other colors. Time for some testing.

  10. Terra Andersen says

    I never knew anyone could manipulate Google results… that’s odd! I imagine it would come up with real results in Google’s cache…

  11. SEO blog says

    That’s an amazing discovery. Google needs to pull up it’s socks once again I guess.

  12. Wags says

    That’s odd. I would have expected that Google would consider those characters spam and filter them out.

    I wonder what else could be done with this…

    But I’m not going to be the one to try:)

  13. Wiz says

    Interesting discovery. Never saw that happen before(I’m pretty sure I’d notice blacked out line is SERPs) and it will surely increase clicks, kinda hard to resist to see what’s that black thingie about.

  14. Health Faculty Jobs says

    This trick would be useful for getting curious clicker to check your site once. However if you site promotes or sells a product I think it would be brushed off as a trick and unprofessional.

  15. life coaching leicester says

    Well, I’m not sure – I think I’d be in the camp that thought – what the blazes is that and clicked it to find out…

    It’s certainly eye-catching!!

    Cheers, Dan

  16. iNtRaNeT says

    yea if I saw all that black i’d definitely be attracted to it :O Neat discovery.

  17. US Gold Coins says

    That is a really interesting article Bill. It is so wierd that Google would do that.

  18. Worlds Best Binoculars Blog says

    I would think that people would be curious and click on that link because it looks like something has been redacted. I’m not sure how well those visitors would convert, though.

  19. Jayson says

    That’s a nice and interesting find. As mentioned above, there’s not too much you could do with it (parasite hosting!!) but it’s definitely interesting.

  20. Andrew Jensen says

    Looks like TunisianGuy’s changed the characters in his profile. Maybe he reads your blog :) It is a pretty humorous “phenomena” though. Thanks for catching it. You learn things every day …

  21. Mark says

    Reminds me of the days of Alta Vista and Excite. It should work out to more clicks for everyone.

  22. Rostyslav says

    That is a heck of a way to get your listing noticed. I am sure google will fix this soon enough, but wow.

  23. Emirhan says

    Google is having problems, I suppose. It is normal to get unnatural results, if the standard open-source rules are broken. It is normal for people to tighten their formulae and to enforce certain things, if webmasters can’t seem to find their lost ethical sense.

    However, it’s in no way normal for a random page element to create a totally unexpected effect in the main page of results. Seems the programming team is again in a race against time, before some smart guy finds a bug that can be exploited…