Topic: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

Hi all.
I love CSS and I have been using the handy "display:none;" feature for a while. Now my non-programmer teammates read about SEO and somehow got the idea, that google does not allow display: none; and could ban my site from their index for using it.
This sounds totally ridiculous to me, as I always used it, without ever thinking about if google likes it.
To clarify: we don't use it to hide a large block of keywords to get a better google ranking, but just pages 2 and 3 of a small, three page, introduction to our site.
My teammates say, I should find another way to do this, like AJAX, but I find this totally stupid, as it just is 2 paragraphs of text per page.
Another similiar thing they say, might be risky, is using overflow:hidden; to not make large titles crash the layout.

Google says the following in their FAQs ( … topic=8522):

Don't fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to "cloak" pages, or put up "crawler only" pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don't intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site."

I think this isn't really clear, and didn't help with our struggle.

If anyone got any experiences with this, please let me know.

Re: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

What Google doesn't like is when you hide keywords or other text in a display:none tag.  This was an old trick from before search bots knew how to properly parse html.  Web spammers would load all this junk they wanted in their page for search but didn't want users to see into display:none div tags.

So don't go throwing random keywords in hidden parts of your page.  That said, I use display:none constantly for any pieces of the page that need to be activated by Javascript and Google doesn't penalize me for it.

Re: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

From what I know, google-bot is CSS-savvy, so if you hide something using display:none;, google will also "hide" it when calculating rank. Likewise, if you make text very small and the same color as your bg color, it will count less in your ranking than if it were a large heading text in neon-pink over a black background.

I would be surprised if they would ignore your site or even just a page for using display:none;, unless it were completely obvious, even to a bot, that you were blatantly trying to misrepresent your page as containing some particular topic, which it didn't actually contain. Remember, google wants to index as many pages and sites as possible to provide the best search-results possible, so ignoring pages and sites en-masse would generally be counter to their goal.

One last thing: If you have a link that uses javascript or a GET request (default for links) to display the previously hidden element, then google will "click" that link, "see" that element, and index it (probably taking into account that it was hidden by default).

Re: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

Matt Cutts from Google has talked about this on his blog and basically he says you shouldn't use display:none; to hide content as it is considered a form of cloaking as you are showing the user one thing and the search engine bot another.  Although it is not recommended by Google, personally I haven't seen any sites that use this technique penalized.  It is commonly used technique for accessibility so it is pretty ambiguous.  Apparently Google supposedly can detect this kind of thing and implement penalties however is this real or just scare tactics and propaganda to keep web masters where they want us.

Re: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

The first thing that came on my mind is JavaScript. You can still use this attr on the fly, but its true you will look like an idiot when user have their JS off smile So wil they also have to scan your script code for that filth? I red somwhere that this shouldnt be a problem, and in future the are planing to review all potential spam site hidding content with this attr. I dont worry cuzany attr is not spam if you use it for what it was ment to.

Hello to whole forum BTW (i am new around),
keep it up!

Re: Can I use display: none; without consequences from Google

No this isn't true. You can use display none as long as its valid script. More and more sites with Web 2.0 technology have to use display:none as part of the user experience. I've used it liberally without any consequence as long as you are not using it for keyword stuffing. It isn't the display: none that would be the problem. The bot can still read key stuffing regardless if a display: none is used or not. So again keep to best practices and don't try to spam the engines. That is the best way to go.