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Tabs With Content Good Or Bad For Seo


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Force7

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 01:59 PM

Hi,

I am working on redesiging a product page and want to be sure that we are doing something that will not cause our position on the engines drop.

Have a Software Product and currently you scroll down the page to read all the information, features, system requirement ect. The idea is to use Java Script to create tabs to better organize the information.

First tab will be the overview of the product, second tab features, third tab screenshots, fourth tab system requirements


I have always stayed away from Java Script just to be sure that the spiders can see all of our text.

How do creating tabs affect SEO?

Thanks in advance!
Force7

Edited by Force7, 21 October 2010 - 02:16 PM.


#2 qwerty

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:10 PM

Basically, it depends on the code behind it. The best way to make sure you're not doing anything to hide your content from search engines is to switch off JavaScript in your browser, reload the page, and see if everything's still there.

#3 Force7

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:18 PM

QUOTE(qwerty @ Oct 21 2010, 03:10 PM) View Post
Basically, it depends on the code behind it. The best way to make sure you're not doing anything to hide your content from search engines is to switch off JavaScript in your browser, reload the page, and see if everything's still there.


Our programmer has told me that by switching it off all the text is visible, so your answer helps a lot, Thanks!


#4 Jill

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 03:13 PM

But there are ways using CSS to create similar tabs that are crawler friendly, if you do want to do something like that on your pages.

#5 piskie

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 05:32 PM

I'm with you Jill
That has got to be a better solution.
With JavaScript, there is not only SE's to consider, there is the Visitor that has JS turned off or is using some sort of Accessibility aid for browsing. When using some whistles and bells, it is wise to assess the degree of degradation that can occur due to non mainstream Browsers or options.

#6 Mikl

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 04:31 AM

Force7,

I have a similar problem on one of my sites. The page has four tabs, each of which contains links to the main articles in the site.

I did as Qwerty suggested, and turned off JavaScript in my browser to see the effect. The result was that all the relevant text was invisible. So I added a [NOSCRIPT] section, and used that to link to another page - a single page that contains the same content as the tabs.

I'm not at all knowledgeable in SEO, so I don't know for sure this is the best approach. I've only had the site running for a month, but so far the rankings have been good.

#7 Jill

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 06:24 AM

QUOTE
So I added a [NOSCRIPT] section, and used that to link to another page - a single page that contains the same content as the tabs.


Why not just put the same links within your noscript tag that are contained in the tabs?

#8 Mikl

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:34 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Oct 22 2010, 06:24 AM) View Post
Why not just put the same links within your noscript tag that are contained in the tabs?


Good point, Jill.

The short answer is that I was worried about the file size. The content within the tabs was already very big, and I didn't want to double its size by duplicating that content in the [NOSCRIPT] section. Rightly or wrongly, I made it a separate page.

I now see that was probably a mistake, mainly because I now have twice as much work to do when I add a new link. I originally thought that not many people would ever see the non-JavaScript version, and I could eventually discard it, but I see from my stats that I am getting as many direct hits on it as I am on the tabbed page.

I'll get it sorted out eventually. I'm not a professional web programmer, and I'm still very much in learning mode.

#9 qwerty

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:47 AM

QUOTE
I am getting as many direct hits on it as I am on the tabbed page.

That's interesting. Is the only link to that page in the <noscript>? Assuming the traffic hitting the page is more than just search engine spiders, is the page returned when you run a site: search? Is it competing with the other page in any way?

#10 Mikl

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 03:33 AM

QUOTE(qwerty @ Oct 22 2010, 11:47 AM) View Post
Is the only link to that page in the <noscript>?


Yes. Or at least, it's the only link within the site. I suppose it's conceivable that a site visitor found the <noscript> version and posted a link to it in a blog or forum, in which case the spiders would find it.

QUOTE(qwerty @ Oct 22 2010, 11:47 AM) View Post
... is the page returned when you run a site: search? Is it competing with the other page in any way?


In Google, both pages are returned, which is surprising. So, yes, maybe they are competing with each other.

Is there anything I should do about that?

A little more background:

The main part of the page consists of four <div>s, each of which starts out as hidden (via a CSS display:none rule). The Javascript selectively unhides one or other of the <div>s, depending on which tab is clicked.

If I view the source in my browser, I can see all the links, so I was assuming the spider would see them as well.

Qwerty, thanks for your interest in this. Your comments are appreciated.

#11 Jill

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE
In Google, both pages are returned, which is surprising. So, yes, maybe they are competing with each other.

Is there anything I should do about that?


You could use the canonical link element directed to the real page you want indexed.

#12 qwerty

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 09:14 AM

The way this is being described, I don't think search engines are going to have a problem with it. I can't remember the last time I read about a case in which text that was temporarily hidden and became visible based on a predictable user action was treated as hidden text by a search engine.

And since the temporarily hidden text is hidden by a CSS rule, that's not going to affect people using screen readers.

Really, the only portion of your audience that could miss out are browser users with CSS on and JS off. So why not just put the links themselves in the noscript element? It will only be visible to that small number of people, so even if you don't go to the trouble of making it relatively pretty with the CSS, it's just a small number of people who are going to see a long, ugly list of links.

[edit] I see that you've already indicated that you're worried that adding all of the links in a noscript element would make the file size too big. Are we talking about hundreds or thousands of links? If that's the case, it may be too many links (from a usability perspective) to have on the page even with the tabbed interface. If not, I don't think you need to worry about the file being too big unless it was already too big.

#13 Mikl

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:08 AM

Jill,

Thanks for the suggestion about using canonical linking. I'll consider that.

Qwerty,

Based on what you've said, I'm inclined to leave things the way they are for now. I think the usability is reasonably good, with and without JavaScript switched off (although I haven't tried it without CSS yet), and the search engine rankings seem good as well (although I've got nothing to compare them with).

I might try doing a test when I get some time. I'll add a new page, and link to it only from the tabbed part of the page, then check to see if it shows up in the search results. I'm fairly sure it will, but it would be good to have some hard evidence. I'll report back.

Regarding the issue of not wanting to duplicate the content. There are around 150 links on the page in question. Each link contains the link itself, three or four words of anchor text, and a short descriptive paragraph. The total size of all this text is about 25 KB. If I duplicated the links in the <noscript>section, my guess is that the actual page size would go from its present 30 KB to 55 KB. I guess that's not huge by today's standards, but it's a lot more than the typical page on this site, which is 8 - 10 KB.

Anyway, many thanks to you both for your insights. I've been lurking in this forum for a couple of years now, and have always found it useful.


#14 Jill

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 08:47 AM

QUOTE
my guess is that the actual page size would go from its present 30 KB to 55 KB. I guess that's not huge by today's standards, but it's a lot more than the typical page on this site, which is 8 - 10 KB.


That would not be a problem at all.

The whole page size thing and speed of pages is one of those FUD things Google is spreading.




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