Google’s Matt Cutts On Hidden Text Using Expandable Sections: “You’ll Be In Good Shape”

matt-cutts-google-expandable-textIn the latest video answer from Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts, he answers a question about “hiding” text in JavaScript/AJAX-like expandable menus. Matt said that generally this practice is acceptable within Google’s webmaster guidelines, if and only if, it is being done in a non-spammy way.

Use of expandable content sections is very popular across the Web and used by large e-commerce sites and content sites to make the content on the page less threatening and more welcoming.

Matt said there are very good reasons to implement expandable content sections, but if you are doing it with the intent of tricking Google by hiding content, in that case it would be against their guidelines. Otherwise, “you’ll be in good shape” using this Web design technique.

The example Matt gives is how Wikipedia collapses some of the content on their mobile interface, here is a screen shot:


As you can see, for a page with a lot of content, this can be very helpful for users.

Below is the video:

Again, if you do this without the intent of hiding content from Google, you should be okay.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | SEO: Spamming


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Kristen Wright

    How would this apply to global footers which are collapsible/expandable?

  • Emory Rowland

    Wow, that was a long time coming. Definitive answer to an ancient question. Give us more of these!

  • Arpit

    I was very much confused about this hidden links that if any webmaster use the Ajax and java script with a proper way, than it will not consider as spam in Google guidelines. So, Today i got my answer. Thanks matt.

  • Andri Yarusman

    well okay … it is more to humans user than bots , if your visitors like this kind of hidden text , all se bots will also like …

  • Hemant Malav

    Hi Andrew,

    Ajax could create problem for bots but I don’t
    think Java script content will be hidden from search engines. You cannot
    standarized the code which should be used to hide content. So Google
    should not have any problem in it. Java script code is sent by server or
    page load however Ajax might involve page post back.

  • Sujit Kumar Lucky

    its just about user experience, we can’t just for bot purpose force design to be legacy and ugly !! i think it good Technic to use tabs, and div flip or toogle hide show text ! just improve user experience and people love, stay on site long time so search engine should also like this !

  • eservicesindia

    google itself says focus on user behavior so then what mean for focusing on these stuffs; These are latest of Design, we must use it !!

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