Is Your Website’s Tab Content Ranking?
The goal of a website designer is to keep the page simple, attractive and user-friendly. Rather than placing all the content on one page, the site may offer a tabbed or click to expand option to “clean up” the way the site looks. Any information within these tabs is then used to give the user a simplified, quick version of what they are looking for. For example, an e-commerce site may offer the following tabs within a description of a product.
- Guides & Info
Rather than listing all this information on the same page to make it more complex and long, the site designer condenses the information down, and the user can click on each tab to find what they are looking for. While this seems like a simple solution that provides users with an easy to use experience for any site, there may be problems that affect your Google ranking that you don’t even know about.
Google’s Take on the Issue
In a recent Google+ hangout thread, a Google representative explained that content on tabbed or click to expand menus may not be ranked as highly. If you have relevant content that customers are searching for but it happens to be “hidden” on one of your tabs, it may not count toward raising your site indexing. In order for the content to be indexed to increase your SEO ranking, the content must be visible to the user as soon as your page is loaded. Otherwise, the information may be discounted or completely kept out of Google’s ranking of your site.
According to Google, the problem lies with users that feel misled when they land on a page. The tabbed content may show up in the search engine results page, but the information isn’t instantly visible on the page they visit. This leads to consumer frustration and mistrust of the search engine when it comes to finding relevant information about certain products, services and web pages. If the user is not familiar with the company’s site when they land there, they may not know to look for their information within tabs or menus. So Google is forced to walk a fine line between sending users to pages that they believe don’t have the content they want, and indexing the content within tabs to provide valuable information to the user in a way that keeps each page attractive and improves the site’s ranking.
The Effect on Your Business
Content within tabs or on a click to expand menu is actually considered hidden by Google. This means that it’s not immediately visible to the user. Unfortunately, using tabs and menus are some of the best ways to simplify your site and keep it user-friendly for those who land there.
Some businesses overcome this problem by adding a tab or menu option that only shows the questions when clicked. For example, a FAQ page may list the questions, but when the user clicks on the question, they are taken to a totally different page, which will, in turn, increase your Google ranking. This is one option to avoid the issue, although users may be impatient and not want to wait for a new page to load.
In order to keep your site indexing where you want it to be on the Google results page your most important, regularly searched content must be clearly visible on the page when the user clicks over. As tabs and menu expanders do not improve your SEO, they should only be used for extraneous content that doesn’t determine your ranking.
The real trick is for web designers to come up with a way to keep web pages simple, clean and easy to use while still guaranteeing that every piece of content is indexed appropriately to increase SEO rankings.