In the past, it was common practice for Google to ignore large chunks of content that were hidden from view by means of collapsible accordions and special tabs as this is where a lot of webmasters were placing large chunks of text that would typically be stuffed with long tail keywords and anchor text links.
However, this is set to change – or at least, according to Gary Illyes, has changed already as Google now realise that hidden tabs and accordions offer a significant means of improving user experience across mobile platforms.
In an age when on-screen real estate is at a premium, the ability to hide certain paragraphs of text from view, until somebody actually wants to read it, is very useful as it reduces clutter and provides a much cleaner interface for the person browsing the pages of a website.
With this in mind, Google has decided that using hidden content by means of accordions in a mobile-first context is not something that should be penalized. This means that any content hidden from view as a means of improving the readability of a site on a handheld device should now have the same weight as unhidden content.
In a recent Twitter exchange, user @schachin approached Gary Illlyes with the following statement and question, “on desktop content in page elements like accordions is devalued or not indexed. Is this the same when crawling mobile content?”
Gary responded with, “no, in the mobile-first world content hidden for ux should have full weight”
Whether or not this means it is safe to hide content using tabs on desktop browsers is something that is open to discussion, as Google has separate algorithms and ranking signals depending on the type of device or platform being used to access a site.