Håkon Styri figured out the answer to yesterday's puzzle. The page in question -- The analog hole -- does mention magnets. The text is hidden in the Strategic Developer widget on that page. As Hekon points out, that's very confusing. Indeed, it calls into question the common practice of decorating web pages with all sorts of auxiliary info-widgets.
The problem isn't just with Marc Barrot's nifty expanding activeRenderer widget, which I use in a couple of places in my standard template. Even visible text that's unrelated to the primary item on a page will cause problems. For example, you can't do an effective fulltext search of my blog for anyone whose name appears in one of my blogrolls.
In theory a CSS attribute could say: "Don't index this element." Parsing it would likely be more work than search engines are currently willing or able to do. But it's a competitive market again, and there's going to be a struggle to differentiate premium search from commodity search. "Don't index this element," in and of itself, isn't a feature to write home about. But if an Internet-scale engine could deliver the kinds of structured search I've implemented locally on this site, that would be a serious advantage. I wonder who'll get there first?
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/03/26.html#a955