In today’s mobile-first world, content hidden behind tabs for user experience purposes will now be given full weight by Google’s search engine crawlers.
This news comes courtesy of Google’s Gary Ilyes after a question about the subject was asked to him on Twitter:
@schachin no, in the mobile-first world content hidden for ux should have full weight
— Gary Illyes (@methode) November 5, 2016
It sounds like that means we can disregard the knowledge previously thought to be true when Google’s John Mueller stated crawlers may “actively ignore” content that is “hidden”:
“From our point of view, it’s always a tricky problem when we send a user to a page where we know this content is actually hidden. Because the user will see perhaps the content in the snippet, they’ll click through the page, and say, well, I don’t see where this information is on this page. I feel kind of almost misled to click on this to actually get in there. So that’s…the problem that we’re seeing. …we’ve gone a little bit further now to actively ignore the information that’s not directly visible. So if you want that content really indexed, I’d make sure it’s visible for the users when they go to that page.”
So, there you have it. Time to update your technical audits, checklists, and so on. Click-to-expand content, and content hidden behind tabs, are not negative SEO factors anymore.