You know those sleek “read more” buttons that pop out with specific content or information on everyones websites these days? Sure you have, but the real question for SEOs and webmasters is if Google treats this “hidden” content with the same importance as normal text that’s in plain sight. Take a look below and we’ll dive into how Google has been prioritizing this hidden content compared to normal visible text.
Now we’re not talking about the ‘black hat’ type of hidden text (black text on black backgrounds with keywords stuffed in there for example) we are talking about web designers that use fancy CSS and Java Script to hide text until a user performs a specific answer. A good example is a button that will say “read more” or something along the lines of that, then a new area pops up with the specific information.
So Does This Hidden Text Have the Same Weight to Google as Normal Text?
Essentially, Google can index and fetch this information just fine (give it a shot with the fetch and render tool on Webmaster Tools) but it may not favor it for ranking purposes as much as if it was just plain text on the page. There are plenty of reasons why web designers would use this feature (too crowded UI with non-hidden text or maybe for tracking purposes, to see how the audience reacts to a certain piece) but is it worth it from an SEO standpoint? Maybe. Our friends over at MOZ did some pretty in depth A/B testing on pages with the hidden dropdown text and normal informative web pages.
The conclusion they reached was that the content that was hidden behind the fancy CSS and Java mind tricks were actually weighed less by the Google algorithm compared to normal, non-hidden text. If you do implement this on your site in the future, be sure to include any important keywords in the open page clearly shown. If it’s covered of hidden, you will have less of a chance of showing up for that keyword. And even if it’s just a little boost compared to hidden text, SEOs should always take what they can get, because you know the competition will.