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Tooltips - Bad For Seo Or No?

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#1 digitalrain


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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:26 AM

I have a client who is in love with a feature on a competitors website and wants something similar on his own site. In a nutshell, it is a series of icons that, when you mouse over them, display a "tooltip". I'm not talking a sentence or two in the TITLE attribute. You can see for yourself at: [Removed] (I deliberately did not hyperlink in case it would be considered spamming here).

If you scroll down toward the bottom of the homepage, on the right hand side you'll see those brown and blue icons.

I've looked at the source code and it isn't being done via hidden divs. It looks like the tooltips are being pulled in from another source - maybe a .txt or .xml file or something.

I have a couple of questions:

a) If the content is being pulled in from an external source via javascript, does the tooltip content even get indexed / counted as a ranking factor?

B) whether it gets indexed or not, would something like this help my client or hinder his SEO efforts?

c) what does Google have to say on the matter?

Thanks in advance for your time and responses. I appreciate it.

Many thanks,


Edited by qwerty, 05 September 2012 - 07:57 AM.
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#2 qwerty


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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:05 AM

Hi Cynthia,

I know you didn't intend to link to the site, but the forum software generated a link from the URL you entered. Even if it hadn't, I would have had to remove the reference to the site, as that's not permitted here either.

But I did take a look at the page in question before I edited your post. It's using JavaScript to generate those tooltips, and because of that, it's invisible to search engines. I grabbed a sentence or two from a couple of them and searched on them in quotes, and there were no results.

However, Google then defaulted to a search on the text without quotes, and the top result both times was actually the site in question -- just not the page from which I grabbed the text to search on. That's because it appears that the tooltip text is a slightly edited down version of text from the site's internal pages. I just tried a third example, and the site didn't come up in the top 10 for the phrase without quotes, so it's not always the most relevant to the edited text.

So they're not doing anything deceptive, and I have no reason to think this is going to get them in any trouble with the search engines. Really, the only question I'd have is whether users find this useful as an introduction to the content of an internal page that convinces them to click through, or if it's just an irritant, like those scripts that make advertisements pop up when you mouse over some text.

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