Will I be penalized for hidden content if I have text in a “read more” dropdown?

Will I be penalized for hidden content if I have text in a “read more” dropdown?

Today’s question
comes from Jim. Jim asks, “Regarding hidden
content, my site has a ‘Read More’ dropdown window to coexist
with the simplistic design elements. The box contains optimized
content, keyword anchor text linking deeper into the
site, et cetera. Will I be penalized for this? Alternatives?” So here are the things
to be aware of. Number one, let’s sketch out the
bad side first. So if the bad side is if your dropdown
is one pixel long and one pixel deep and the thing that
gets revealed when you click on it is like eight pages filled
with keyword-stuffed anchor text and things like
that, that’s going to look pretty bad. If, however, you’re fitting
within the normal idiom where you have a navigation menu and
you click and it has revealed maybe a paragraph or two, maybe
a link or two, that’s the sort of thing that a lot
of different websites do. So this is the sort of thing
where I would pay attention to what other websites do. If you use a common framework to
do your dropdown that a lot of other websites use, then
there’s less likelihood that we might accidentally classify
it as hidden text. And then it would also really
probably be a good idea not to put like eight pages of content
in the stuff that people don’t normally see. Because what you want people
to see is the same content that Googlebot is seeing. So you don’t want to land on a
page that has nothing on it and have a whole bunch of text
hidden behind a dropdown. But most normal sites doing
most normal sort of mouse-activated dropdowns are
doing a completely normal amount of stuff, and that’s not
the sort of thing that I would really worry about. As long as you stick to common
idioms the way that most websites do those sorts of
dropdowns, as long as you keep it to a relatively reasonable
length of text, I don’t foresee any problems.

13 thoughts on “Will I be penalized for hidden content if I have text in a “read more” dropdown?

  1. I guess this would be the same for something like jQueryUI tabs?? Since the tabs tend to have a display:none and are definitely more than 2 paragraphs is this something bad? or not followed?

  2. Hey Matt, What's with the professional video ? I miss the old thrown together on a Friday afternoon video's ha ha. Content as usual perfect !

  3. Okay? What If we use the span class and then hide the class in the css? For example we put the span tag over some text and then in the CSS we make it hidden. Will this effect our SEO?

  4. @thejimgaudet was going to comment the same exact point, Please Google staff reply to this! Tabs approach actually contains a lot more content and most of the time a useful content to!

    I would check if the hidden content ID is linked to from a link on the page (i.e it's a good indicator that this is a tabbed content) and allow it (not penalizing it)!

  5. Too bad there's no "duplicate framework" or "duplicate navigation" penalty! On the one hand you reward original writing, on the other hand you penalize original navigation, original frameworks, etc. Why the double standard?

  6. @ferodynamics And why does Google care about site navigation? Google is a search engine–we use Google to AVOID navigation! Google should encourage ZERO NAVIGATION. Using Google to get what you want is 100x faster than looking around a page, hovering pulldown menus for the appropriate sub-sub-menu that doesn't even have what we're looking for. Google is often faster than a website's own internal search engine. So Matt tells us to waste everyone's time because it's "common" and "normal" ?

  7. @thejimgaudet This is a very good question when you have collapse and expand content, like say a frontpage of a news site where you have short paragraphs of teaser text with 'read more' in there. You in that scenario could have many snippets, and I myself would be worried about it being "spammy" especially if you are going to have a lot of content.

  8. I think the questions about Tabs are not addressed. Tabs make the user experience better but no one seems to know if it will hurt your rankings or not. We live in fear of losing any ground by experimenting as
    it seems almost impossible to know if it has affected you or if Google is running another algo change.

  9. Why penalize?? If you think the hidden text is a spam content, just don't index it. This way you will not hurt people using hidden text for a legitimate purpose.

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