Google penalising tabbed content


Well-Known Member
There's been a bit floating around the internet recently regarding Google changing it's algorithm to penalise pages using hidden content. The theory behind it is that users are seeing search results with the content they want but on click through that content isn't on the actual page as its hidden and is only there to boost rankings, making users then question the accuracy of google's search results.

A knock on affect of this is that pages using tabs to display content are likely to be penalised. I've seen it first hand as pages that we've launched since this change which incorporate tabbed content have ranked really badly on Google but removing the tabs in favor of one really long page has made a dramatic difference to page ranking.

The past few days I've been thinking over this issue and I'm wondering if the method of hiding content within tabs could change the way google ranks it? For example, pages I've had issue with have had content within tabs that have a display:none class applied which a .click(function() add/removes as required to browse the page. Has anyone looked into using jQuery .hide() in the page footer to hide tabs as a page loads? In theory the content will be visible until the footer loads but is that enough to keep google happy?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Not really heard anything about this but if this is the case then it's a shame really, I have seen some nice looking sites that do this, saves all the content being displayed cluttering up the page. I can see how some may exploit this though and it may be that everyone will now suffer as a result, it's a bit like in the old days when people used to keyword cram pages with text the same colour as the background lol, maybe google now sees this as something similar where content is being hidden.

I personally don't use tabs like this which is nice for a change as I seem to get penalised for everything google decides to crack down on!

If it was me I would just remove the feature, google tends to penalise those using workarounds too given enough time.
It started popping up around November after an interview with Google's John Mueller. I didnt notice any negative affects till about mid December and even then it only seems to be new pages with tabs. Older content seems to be staying stable (one of the reasons I wonder if the method of implementation is important).