Is Tabbed Content Bad for SEO?
Recently there has been a lot of conversation around the ol’ SEO watercooler about tabbed content. Is it good, bad, useless, advantageous? We wanted to find out the deal with tabbed content so we put our brains together and came up with our most educated thoughts on the subject.
First – does anyone know for sure how Google treats content across the board? Absolutely not, (at least for us schmucks that don’t work for Google) but that’s ok because we are very well-versed in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and their published best practices. Using those we can look at past testing data and make some safe assumptions.
What is Tabbed Content?
For the purpose of this blog, tabbed content is any content that resides on a single URL but requires another click for the user to see. It’s content that is not immediately apparent or visible to someone who lands on the page.
So, is Tabbed Content Bad?
A few months ago, Search Engine Roundtable reported on tabbed content and stated that it may be “discounted.” John Mueller of Google followed up and said “if you want that content really indexed, I’d make sure it’s visible for the users when they go to that page.” From these two statements, you may be thinking tabbed content is the latest in SEO malpractice, but don’t throw it out the window just yet.
Here are Volume Nine, we do not think that tabbed content is inherently bad or damaging.
That said, we also believe that although tabbed content gets indexed – if the content is not immediately apparent to users, then you can’t expect it to help the ranking of that page.
What Should I Do With My Tabbed Content?
First and foremost don’t panic. Coloradoans believe that panicking is always bad for you.
Secondly, rearrange intelligently. If you have a page that needs to use tabs to create a good visual experience for users, be sure to put the most important and unique content on the front so its immediately visible to users. Save anything that is boilerplate or duplicate for the deeper tabs.
It’s also important to note that, in certain situations, tabbed content is the right thing to do. After all, the user-experience should always be top priority!
You know your customers and business best so if there’s absolutely no way to create a useful page without tabs or expanders, then use them. In addition to your tabs, find others ways to add significant, unique content, and never rely on the content behind your tabs to carry your ranking.