Sometimes when creating content for clients I end up making big, fat, juicy, pages.
Some people would call these pages “overwhelming walls of text”.
Yes, I knew your little secret.
To make things pretty and put them into smaller, easily digestible nuggets of content, content can be placed into a wide variety of drop down widgets, content accordions, hover-overs, you name it.
So, can Googlebot crawl this content which is invisible to the human eye?
SEO savvy users cringe at the thought of losing valuable long tail search traffic and wonder if Google can crawl the curtailed content.
In most cases, the answer is yes.
I have yet to see a WordPress plugin where the content can’t be crawled.
Sometimes, they can’t crawl content. Not all websites are created equally. Depending on your content management system and how your site is coded, spiders may have a very difficult time crawling your content. This also holds true if you have it hidden in some kind of ancient script.
If you aren’t sure if your content is being crawled correctly, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll take a quick look at it. My favorite tools are Google search, Lynx, and www.seo-browser.com for an initial 1 minute glance.
But Google says no
A Google rep is on record somewhere saying that the content will be discounted if it can’t be crawled. I think they are wrong. That is not a tremendously shocking statement; they are wrong all the time. There are lots of “SEO Experts” out there that take anything any Google employee says as some sort of gospel. While I am a huge fan, I am not one of those people. Besides, nobody puts the most important content of a page into an accordion.
I do most of my SEO via UX first. If a search engine can’t rank a page because it provides an excellent user experience, they are doing something wrong. That said, I have yet to see very many solid UX sites performing poorly due to their design (but it does happen).
Now depending on a CMS an eCommerce site could have all kinds of little issues with tabbed content. You could have a page where a T-shirt is for sale and have tabs which can’t be crawled. Then on the tabs you could have all the text content. This would not be a good idea. In this case you would want a detailed page and on the tabs could be color and size selection and other stuff which is less important.