Most people with an elementary knowledge of SEO would tend to think negatively about hidden text. At one point in time, keywords used to be hidden from the user but deployed to leverage search rankings. With Google becoming wise to such tactics, such sites were penalized. However, there are a number of valid reasons why contemporary sites use hidden text and Google recognizes their legitimacy. You will need to figure out whether your use of hidden text is going to hurt you or benefit you.
Hidden Text Explained
A div, in this context, refers to text bounded by div tags that is intended to be normally invisible till some action is taken like clicking. This technique is commonly used to hide contents that are otherwise expandable. A popular use of a hidden div is to provide a copy of the Facebook comments in the iFrame resident plug-in so that Google can index it. However, hidden divs are more commonly used to manipulate search results though Google has become progressively smarter and able to discern black hat tactics and penalize the site.
Indexing Hidden Divs
SEO Now More Context-Sensitive
One of the biggest challenges of contemporary SEO is trying to deal with the huge amount of already-published content that is not updated. Google incorporates a very sophisticated system of machine learning and crowd-sourced decision-making in its search algorithms. It does not, therefore, have any rigid system of classifying sites as black or white hat just because of the presence or absence of hidden content. It will rather try to figure out the context of the content and then take a decision to penalize if it thinks fit. Because of the lack of clarity, webmasters are reluctant to use code snippets even if they are useful because they are afraid of Google penalizing them. However, it is increasingly becoming evident that Google is basing its decisions keeping the perspective of the hidden content and whether it delivers any value to users.
Google, even though being a robot, is increasingly becoming difficult to trick. There is very little likelihood of you being able to fool it with black hat tactics and similarly, there is very little possibility of Google penalizing you for putting up content that is perfectly legitimate even though it may be a hidden div. It is not that Google never makes any mistakes. If and when it does, webmasters can take up the issue and have the case reexamined and the lost ranking restored. Even if you have made a genuine error of judgment, you can isolate the issue resulting in the penalty and work around it.
Tom Edison is among the foremost experts in online marketing in Calgary. Tom has extensive experience of consulting with some of the biggest names in the retail sector to refine their SEO tactics.