Hidden or Not – Is content that is not fetched by Google not indexed either?

von Henry Zeitler

People are discussing over and over again if dynamically included or beastly hidden content (display: none or visibility: hidden in CSS) is indexed by the Googlebot anyway. I nailed together a test case and tried to solve these questions and I would like to discuss if Fetch like Google really shows us what finally could be indexed or not.

Why this testing?

I decided to make up this test case when I entered a discussion in the Technical SEO Community on Google+ lately. The initial question was if Google indexes content that was added by .foo:after { content:'foo'; }. A counter-example for indexed content that could not be fetched was given with http://www.torontopianosale.com/toronto-piano-tuning.html where the middle part of the page is fetched, the sidebars not but the page altogether indexed by Google anyway.

What is this test about?

To cover some more doubtful cases than just the content added by CSS, I filled the test page with common and known bad practices to hide content in popular accordion menus and furthermore some Javascript/jQuery/Ajax approaches to include content for evaluating their impact on SEO.
The results in the Google tools is totally astounding regarding what Google fetches and what not. And yes, for this page, there’s an answer to the question if the Translator works the same way as Fetch like Google.

By the investigation if fetching and indexing and finally showing these contents in the SERPs is treated the same by Google, the post is splitted in two parts. I have to wait some days to clear up which contents will be shown and which not. I will keep you informed about what will happen later.

So long, to put it in a nutshell, go and check out the test-page at Hidden or Not?. There you can gather all the informations and some hopefully interesting and satisfying answers.

Soon to come: What content of the test page was really indexed by Google?