Google’s OK With This Kind Of Hidden Text

    July 24, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Today’s Webmaster Help video from Google is interesting. It tackles hidden text, but not the kind that Google has always spoken out agains (and talks about in its quality guidelines), but a more legitimate kind.

In the video, Matt Cutts answers the following submitted question:

How does Google treat hidden content which becomes visible when clicking a button? Does it look spammy if most of the text is in such a section? (e.g. simple page to buy something and “show details” button which reveals a lot of information about it).

“I wouldn’t be overly concerned about this, but let’s talk through the different consequences,” begins Cutts. “It’s pretty common on the web for people to want to be able to say, ‘Click here,’ and then ‘show manufacturer details,’ ‘show specifications,’ ‘show reviews,’ and that’s a pretty normal idiom at this point. It’s not deceptive. Nobody’s trying to be manipulative. It’s easy to see that this is text that’s intended for users, and so as long as you’re doing that, I really wouldn’t be too stressed out.”

He continues, “Now certainly if you were using a tiny little button that users can’t see, and there’s like six pages of text buried in there, and it’s not intended for users, and it’s keyword-stuffing, then that is something that we could possibly consider hidden text or probably would consider hidden text, but in general, if you just have something where you have a nice AJAXy sort of site, and things get revealed, and you’re trying to keep things clean, that’s not the sort of thing that’s going to be on the top of our list to worry about because there’s a lot of different sites that really do that.”

“It’s pretty common on the web, and a lot of people expect that on the web,” he says. “Take, for example, Wikipedia on your mobile phone – they’ll have different sections, and then if you click, they expand those sections, and there’s good usability reasons for doing that, so as long as you’re not trying to stuff something in in a hidden way that’s deceptive or trying to distort the rankings – as long as you’re just doing that for users, I think you’ll be in good shape.”

As a user notes in the comments of the video, you have to click a button to reveal the video description on YouTube.

  • Shiloh

    Oh THANK YOU Almighty Google for helping us to stay within the Google rules, policies and guidelines. We must all obey you or fall victim to the dreaded Google SERPS penalty. Thank you for the profit Cutts to lead us down your road of salvation. I eagerly await your next discourse in what we can think, do and put on our own web sites.

    Uh…on second thought. Since its my website and I pay for it every month I think I’ll just do as I like and say SHOVE IT! Oh…I also think I will just continue to use BING which is a better search engine anyway and bringing me plenty of traffic without all the stupid crap and threats.

    Google is trying to control content and advertisements unless they are their “approved” ads and their approved content. In essence price fixing and monopoly building.

    An FTC Complaint can be filed here, no matter how small or big your business is,


    Take away their power and use BING

    • http://www.rankwatch.com Rank Watch

      As long as the user is being displayed right content at the right time through a right medium, its fine. Google will definitely not support having hidden links on a site which are of the same color to that of the page’s background trying to deceive the users. But these kind of links which appear on click are hover are fine.