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Would Google penalise for using div overlay?

     
12:16 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone have any information as to whether using a div overlay to highlight specific content over the top of an existing page would have any negative effect on SEO for google?
5:49 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There should be no penalty for a div overlay - it's a common technique on today's websites. However, the text in the overlay will shift the balance of your page and it might be ranked differently because of that. This could be either positive or negative.
11:22 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks,
The overlaying div would have very little text in it (mainly an image), and it would just be at the very bottom of the HTML code.
Just wondered if Google classes this as a kind of cloaking.
12:31 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's cloaking if you don't show the same source code to googlebot as you do to other user-agents. Even then, there cane be "edge cases" - and as long as the intention isn't deceptive, it's usually OK. For example, Google usually is OK with short extra messages being added based on the referrer.
3:44 pm on Dec 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Expanding on this concept, I have a div overlay with help text in it that by default is hidden unless the user clicks a "Show" link. Is that a problem for Google do you think?
4:20 pm on Dec 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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As long as you provide a clear mechanism to make the hidden content visible, as with your "Show" link, you'll be fine in Google. As Ted says, this is a common and well-accepted practice. For the truly paranoid, the 100% safe practice would be to have the CSS setting on the DIV set to "visible" by default, and use JavaScript to alter the CSS setting to "hidden" before the page loads, and then let the visibility be changed by your link.
10:06 am on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Rather than using a div overlay I have temporarily got a similar effect using a lightbox set up to be displayed on page load.

Would google consider that to be cloaking? and if not why would they consider an overlayed div to be cloaking but not a lightbox?
12:18 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have a different situation where there is a text describing a picture is overlayed by it. Threre is a small cross besides this picture which allows it to hide. Whould that be ok with google?
3:12 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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A lightbox script is also an acceptable tool for this kind of interface enhancement.

It is possible to use most technology in a deceptive fashion, but I've not heard of any problems with Google for straightforward use - no matter what you name the script.