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I have on my website hundreds of pages with a help text in it. This text is the same for all the pages and is long compared to the rest of the texts on the page. Because i want better user experience, i prefer to keep the text in the page and not in another where i could link to.

I fear that SEs might consider my site too spammy because of that.

What would you do in that situation ?

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2 Answers 2

Search engines can recognise "boiler-plate" text - the text that is replicated on all pages of the site, like navigation, footers, sidebars, etc - so i'd expect that the SE's will see your "help text" in that respect.

That being said, I don't think it's the best user experience, and probably not the best for providing search engines with the content they're looking for.

I'd suggest you use a cookie-based method of detecting if a user has been to the site (either before, or for a session), and use JavaScript to display that text (externalize if possible).

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It's a little hard to judge without seeing an actual example, but doesn't it seem a little strange that you've got help text that's disproportionate to your actual content? I'd say it suggests some interface problems. It almost sounds like you're trying to fix your user experience(since you brought it up) by constantly explaining it, which is the wrong approach altogether.

Do you really need all of that text right on the page, every single page? Have you considered cutting it down to the few most common problems and having a "more" link pointing at the full version on a centralized page?

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Who voted this down? It's a fine answer. –  John Conde May 22 '11 at 14:58
    
That is entirely speculative. A site should assume that users arrive at ANY page because they do so the designer should make sure it is understandable from any point. A multimedia/video/image site for example could have very little test other than the instructions. –  Itai May 22 '11 at 15:00
    
Thank you Itai, that is exactly the case. To be more precise, it's a chart users can edit to describe a specific object. This is somehow a new method so we need to explain how it works. Is it possible to specify to SEs not to index one div ? –  paragooon May 22 '11 at 15:14
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@Itai My point was not to remove all explanation, but to see if it's possible to trim it. The question itself basically admits there's too much of it. And yes, I was speculating. What else could be done without actually seeing the site? Given @paragooon's further explanation, I stand by the suggestion. This is precisely what help/documentation pages are for, regardless of the "better user experience" argument. After people get used to it, do you really think they want to keep seeing a large block of instructions constantly? –  Su' May 22 '11 at 17:32

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