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Hidden content is taken into account by Google for web SEO

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  • Hidden content is taken into account by Google for web SEO
  • SEO news, E-Gate SEO, Google, Site optimization, Natural SEO

During a recent Hangout broadcast on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel, John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google Switzerland, clarified the group’s position regarding how the engine interprets hidden content on web pages.

According to the expert, since implementing the mobile-first index, any content likely to be seen by Internet users at one time or another is considered for SEO.

A little reminder on the subject by the natural referencing agency E-Gate.

Indexing to optimize UX on mobile sites

According to Médiamétrie’s annual survey concerning the French and the Internet, every day, 37.4 million people surf the Internet from their smartphone. At the same time, the respective shares of the computer and the tablet decreased compared to the previous year. Moreover, 40% of Internet users connect exclusively on their mobile.

These new habits require SEO Experts Melbourne to adjust content to a reduced screen size. In particular, they must avoid articles that are too long on a single page, which are indigestible and prevent visitors from quickly finding the information they need without scrolling. Tired, the latter can then give up and turn to a competing site.

To improve ergonomics and simplify navigation, a system of tabs or accordions is often implemented on mobile sites. With this indexing, the text is distributed over several pages, providing additional information potentially valuable to Internet users.

The search engine previously devalued hidden content.

However, the webmaster community is still convinced that any content not directly visible to the Internet user when loading a web page is not taken into account for the natural referencing of the site. This means that even accessible to Google crawlers, this hidden content does not contribute to optimizing your website and propelling it to the top of search results.

It is true that a few years earlier, the engine considered the use of hidden content a black hat technique. The practice made it possible to insert numerous keywords that robots could read but not display on Internet users’ screens. These keywords are linked to the IT company Australia business, geographic location, etc. For Google, it was a way to manipulate search results so that the site arrived on the first page and thus gained traffic.

Different methods are implemented to make the content present in the HTML code invisible to visitors.

  • To achieve their goals, some set the text font size to 0.
  • Others opt for a font color identical to the background (for example, white text on a white background).
  • Others hide text behind an image or hide CSS elements, which thus disappear from the interface.
  • Finally, web admins insert links on special characters like the hyphen.

So many tricks are prohibited by Google and result in the devaluation of the content concerned or even the penalization of the site.

Consideration of hidden content for SEO since the launch of the mobile-first index

But Google’s policy in this area has visibly evolved, particularly to adapt to the new requirements by implementing the mobile-first index. During the question-and-answer session, John Mueller asserted that the search engine does not devalue the hidden content of a web page, even if it is less likely to be seen by the site visitor.

From now on, the Mountain View firm considers that any content on a mobile page, whether it appears immediately or requires clicking on a tab from the main page, will likely be seen by mobile users at some point. Therefore, it is considered for web referencing, just like any other element included in the source code.

If the American giant has thus reviewed its position, it is in constant concern to offer the best possible user experience. In a world where interesting and technically optimized content is more than ever the key to a good ranking in the SERPs and, consequently, to increased visibility, any content, even invisible directly on the screen, therefore has a weight not negligible.

Today’s challenge for SEO experts is to position the tabs or buttons to reveal hidden content judiciously. This involves understanding how the Internet user interacts. Therefore, a test of the experience by potential users is recommended before any site modification.

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