SEO Claims Higher Rankings Without Content Hidden In Tabs Again

Mar 9, 2022 - 7:41 am 5 by

Google Accordion Content Ranking

A few years ago, we reported that Google said despite some of the SEO case studies, content collapsed and hidden within expandable tabs (accordions) will be indexed and ranked fully. Well, Dan Shure tested it again and he said no, it is not.

Dan posted on Twitter that he saw a really big boost in rankings for "extremely competitive" terms after he decided to make the content that was hidden behind accordion drop-downs visible by default. He did add that the content was below the fold in this situation and this was both on mobile and desktop interfaces. He also said it was mostly FAQ oriented content and by showing the content by default to users, i.e. not having the user need to click to expand the content, the content show a boost in rankings. He also said that the content, while collapsed, was fully rendered in the HTML, so Googlebot did see it and index it, but it did not rank well.

Dan shared this Google Search Console chart to show the increase:

click for full size

As a reminder, in 2018, Google said the case studies are wrong and Google first told us this back in 2016, that when on mobile, content hidden in accordions, tabs, etc for user experience purposes will be given full weight and not demoted like did in the past. Google has confirmed this messaging many times but needs to do so again.

So the lesson here is test it yourself and see for yourself. If removing the collapsable content feature is easy, try it for a bit, see what happens. See if it hurts user experience or not and if it improves rankings or not. Every site is different, every query has its own landscape - so test.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: John Mueller of Google was asked to reply to this and here is what he said:

 

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