E-commerce, newspaper sites and recipes sites do not really have much in common when it comes to search engine optimization, but all of these categories have a lot to earn from organizing traffic to their results pages, rather than pushing them to a product page. The reason is that visitors are more likely to stay a few extra clicks after landing on a category page than if they landed on a product page. Behavioral analysis is simple. Anyone who finds a product, article or recipe, and wants to compare with other equivalent pages, goes back to Google results from the product page. If the landing page was a product page, the visitor will compare or read through more of the other listed pages. In my surveys, visitors stay between 3 and 9 page views after landing on a category page.

Google does not like to list just the category pages in search results. Many web sites have gotten to know, and the only way to make these pages more important in the eyes of Google is to give them their own value. Thus giving them their own content, which means filling them with text.

The resistance to placing a lot of text at the top of the category pages in an online store, in a newspaper section or before a listing on a recipe site, is large, and therefore, different systems having tabs and read more links (ie text blocks that only displayed after clicking on a javascript link) is common scenario. So far, it has only become a problem on sites that display such content via AJAX, but this is going to probably change now.

Time to review options for tabs and folded content

If you use this method, it will be high time to think of alternative solutions. What we know is that Google has changed a few of its web master’s guidelines. And it’s a very important change, which can have a big impact on very many sites:

“Make the important content on the site visible by default. Google can crawl HTML content that hides navigational objects as tabs or expandable sections, but we consider that such content is less readily available to users and that the most important information should be visible in the page’s default view. ”

It has become more important that you really show up text that is important to the page. It is no longer possible to display 150 characters and a Read more link or to add all relevant text to a tab on the page and only show the conversion elements in the default view. The superficial analysis thus becomes search engine visibility against conversion with Google’s new way of managing content that one has to interact with before it can be seen.

Why has not there become more noise about this in the SEO world? Well, probably because modern SEO in these times is more about sitting and caving in various tools, and following the big SEO blogs in the big markets. And, the tab problem has never been very big in the United States. In Germany, it is almost non-existent.

Tabs can still be good from SEO perspective

In cases where there is a lot of text shared on many pages of the site, tabs may be an additional good alternative to Google’s new way of managing this form of almost-hidden text. Add the shared information, which risks lowering the page’s uniqueness in a tab, thus avoiding the risk that Google values this text too high.

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