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Visibility: Hidden - for Drop Down Menu and SEO



9:28 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi All,

I'm building out a main navigation, and I want it to have drop downs on it (so you hover over Menu Option 1 and a drop down will appear with subpages).

If I code out this drop down using visibility:none in the external css will it hurt my SEO? Or get me marked as Spam?

so for example- #menu ul{visibility:none;}, #menu ul:hover {visibility:visible;}

I know that you are not supposed to hide content from the search engines using Visibility, but I can't figure out any way to make a drop down with out hiding something (it seems like doing display:none or using JS would be doing the exact same thing).

Can anyone clarify?


10:28 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A number of people worry about this - but there should be no worry, because as you said, you can't have a hover-style menu without having some content not visible when the page loads. The fact is, all the content IS visible in your source code, so it's not hidden to search engines.

The only time you can get into trouble is when there is no natural user action that makes the content visible. Then you are serving content to Google that you are not showing to regular visitors.

I've been using a show/hide menu system for many years on many sites and have never seen a problem.


12:23 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You won't get penalized for doing that. Its a common enough practice that Google would shut down important sites if they started penalizing for it.

Be careful that you don't load too many links into your menus. I've seen 150 or 200 links in drop down menus. If that is your entire site, its fine. But if you have a larger site, you will have problems passing enough pagerank to other pages.

We recently AJAXed the menus on our site to hide the links from Googlebot. When somebody hovers over the top level link, AJAX loads the sub-menus. Not because we were worried about getting penalized, but because the sub-links contained a lot of non-SEO-important pages that were getting tons of pagerank.


1:03 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The fact is, all the content IS visible in your source code, so it's not hidden to search engines.

Tedster or deadsea,

Will it impact ranking when I change from image drop down menu (text cannot be highlighted, copied and pasted) to one that is text?

I am concern this may add content to my page. Does it in Google's eye?


7:34 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for responses, I won't worry about it then!

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