Does the Google Bot index css hidden divs?

POST UPDATE 04/09/2015
Its been almost a year since we tried this…we think it is still vaild – but scroll down for some new links.

What did we test?

Well – we wanted to know if Google indexes hidden div’s in HTML code.  Seems logical that Google would – but who flippin’ knows – right?

Back when this test concluded and went live – March of 2013 the conclusion was Google did.  Which is cool.  But – its always good to keep testing.  And I was looking for the original files I used to test with…and they were no where to be found.  Which is fine, but not a good way to show people you are a good testing guy.

So we recreated it.

The Test: Does Google index hidden div’s?

People use this method all the time – its like hiding tabbed content.  But – does the copy “hiding” behind the tab ever see the light of day algorithm of google?  Well – it sure used to a year ago…so we think it still will.  But we may as well test it.

Here are the pages I set up to test.

2015 Tests

Here is the composite google search for the three terms.

Keyword/Test 1:  frediaconineda

Keyword/Test 2: booleebagadolly

Keyword/Test 3: sooweedingladoebadoo

2014 Tests

Check these out…you can see the search results here.

Keyword/Test 1:  funkyityfootoo

Keyword/Test 2: sassygogopantalones

Keyword/Test 3: lillywillywallymon

The visuals

The highlighted section (yellow) shows that all elements with the keyword, in this example the “H1” and the second “div” (shown with the orange text and arrows) have both been hidden with an inline style.  Then, we use CSS & javascript to show it after the page load.  The green circles are used to show you the existence of the “funkyityfootoo” keyword.



As we mentioned above – in 03/2013 Google indexed these just like other content on the page.  Information will be added here to tell us if that is still true.

It makes sense and is a valid test.  There are many, many websites which hide portions of content for a better user experience.  Some of those tabs have very boring information only nerds would look at.

Here is a quick link to the google search results for all three keywords.

13 Responses to “Does the Google Bot index css hidden divs?”

  1. Frank June 30, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Thanks for this article – helped me a lot. Does this work the same way with “visibilty:hidden” styles? Thanks in advance

    • tom June 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      Not sure…this may be something we’ll check. Thanks for asking.

  2. Dave August 13, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    I’ve always wondered about it and a quick search found your answer! Thanks for the info, better make sure my hidden content is decent then!

  3. WilhelmR October 20, 2013 at 6:32 am #

    Been wondering this for quite a while, thanks for the very clear answer.

    Now the question is, do google follow links hidden by css?

  4. David Woods October 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Appreciate it, Ample knowledge

  5. Erik the Reader June 5, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    Question is that if there are many sites competing for the same keyword then is it still considered css hidden a no problem by Google?

  6. Christian Potsch December 1, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Thanks but there is one more question: Does Google assess non-displayed Content?

    • tom December 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      As long as it is not in HTML comment tags…it does.

  7. Mike March 20, 2015 at 10:14 am #


    This is helpful information. It’s now been a couple of years since you did these tests. Any idea if this is still valid?

    – Mike

    • tom April 9, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      Just started a new test Mike – lets see how it goes. (Also – we did do tests in 2014, this post was started in 2013…but I updated that too.)

      Thanks for the comments.

  8. Dennis March 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    I made this hidden display on my css for cleaning my web.
    But unfortunately google took out my urls from the indexing or my be my sitemap program yoast had taken it off.
    now my indexing is falling down. And so I have re-enabled it.

  9. ChrisHefferon May 19, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks for doing these tests and sharing your results. One question I have, though, is have your tests proven that the hidden div is indexed or that the page has been indexed and added to Google’s results? I ask this because the ‘control’ keyword that you are using is also in the H1 tag and is getting indexed that way. In your search results pages, I don’t see any evidence or reference to the actual hidden content. I..e., I would expect the Google search result snippet to show the ‘hidden’ content with the keyword highlighted inline. Thoughts? How do you know it’s not just the H1 getting you into the Google search results, and maybe Googlebot is ignoring or discounting the hidden DIV content?

  10. PostThis May 29, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    Thanks for putting together this test. Comments from John Mueller of Google in a Q+A hangout November 2014 said “the content within these tabs will be discounted.”

    Your test seems to indicate clearly that the content was indexed & found. My next question is does the ranking take a hit when it has some competition. I know this might be tough to test since so many factors go into ranking. I wonder if you made a static page with the hidden content plainly visible, if google would rank that page higher. I would have to think they would. It would be another decision to weigh when trying to beat our your competition. Pragmatically, I feel like other factors about your site might sway your ranking before it gets to this level of tabbed/hidden vs. on page at load already.

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