Last week Matt Cutts talked about hidden links and illustrated a case of what was a pretty blatant attempt to hide links within text.
This morning I surfed over to MichaelSaunders.com (a brokerage here in Sarasota) and saw that their footer area is full of keyword-laden text. If you mouse-over the paragraphs you will see that a large number of the keywords in text are actually links to different parts of the Michael Saunders website. The text links are made to blend in completely with the rest of the paragraph. It appears that the links are there solely for search engines and not users of the site.
This case is obviously different from the spammy example Matt mentions in his post. The links do appear on mouse-over (as opposed to not at all) and they are used mostly for internal linking (not outbound links). However, it still appears that it’s created for SEO and not end user benefit.
So my question is: does the Michael Saunders example constitute search engine spam? Or is it within the Google quality guidelines to hide your links (except on mouseover) as long as you’re not linking out?
04/17/07 Update: I changed the title of this post from “spamming Google” to “violating the google guidelines” since that’s probably more accurate in this case.