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Is Expandable Text OK With Google?

matt cutts

Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google, is back with another video Q&A session, this time focusing on and tackling the topic of whether expandable text sections will negatively impact your search engine optimization efforts.

Many websites, especially those with dense, wordy, informative, encyclopedic type content, use expandable text so as not to intimidate more "uninitiated" users. Imagine, for example, an extensive FAQ section in which you can simply click the questions to see detailed answers in a drop-down menu.

The question is, if text is hidden in a menu through JavaScript or AJAX, will Google be able to "see" it and take it into account when it's determining your search ranking?

Expandable Text is Fine, Says Cutts

Google says there's nothing wrong with using expandable menus, as long as you don't do it in a way that comes off as spammy. For example, if you're doing it to purposely hide content that you don't want Google's search bots to crawl, this would be a violation of Google's quality guidelines. But, more likely, you're asking this type of question because you're trying to make a better overall experience for your users without running the risk of having expandable content missed by Google, not because your intention is to have Google miss it.

Matt Cutts gives the example of Wikipedia using expandable sections to categorize information within a page on its mobile site: "History," "Rules and regulations," "Common techniques and practices," etc. Given how lengthy and dense many of Wikipedia's pages can be, you can see how expandable menus would be extremely useful for users, especially using a 4" display on a mobile site.

If you've been thinking about using expandable content on your site, but have been wary of a penalty from Google, does this make you change your mind? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the full (albeit brief) video from Cutts himself for a little more detail.

Ryan Lundin

Posted on 25th July, 2013 by Ryan Lundin

About Ryan Lundin

Ryan Lundin is a content curator, manager, editor and writer from Marquette, MI.

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