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I have been tasked to make a pretty simple site which have to be SEO friendly. Now, i was told that the articles should take minimal space when listed so i thought of a "read more" expandable plugin.

My question is, do spiders consider the text behind the "read more" links as hidden aka punishing me SEO-wise or is it of no importance?

Thanks in advance!

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 14 '11 at 10:00

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5 Answers

If you use javascript to hide/reveal part of the article, then google will still parse the entire text, but the user only gets to see the part before the "read more" button.

I do not believe search engines penalise this kind of website behavior.

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im still pretty new to php and js, so how come a php plugin wont cut it? –  Rasmus Mar 14 '11 at 9:44
    
I'd be interested to know why this was downvoted –  Richard Mar 14 '11 at 9:45
    
@Rasmus Because a PHP-based solution works server-side. That means, that the text will not be present for the search engine to "see" in the mark-up. A Javascript-based solution is client-side, hence the data is present at load-time. (If this makes sense?!) –  jensgram Mar 14 '11 at 9:47
    
@Rasmus: (jensgram beat me to it :))Problem with a solution where you only output part of the article with PHP, the info won't be on the page if a spider indexes it. It will however folow the link, and index the page with the entire article on it (which will probably show up in the google results directly, instead of the "overview" page) –  Powertieke Mar 14 '11 at 9:48
    
@richard : Me too :) –  Powertieke Mar 14 '11 at 9:49
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You almost certainly don't want to have the complete text on the list page as well as the page of the full text.

Let me explain that:

Say you are writing a blog and you have a one page for each article and you also have a homepage showing the last 10 articles. On your homepage you want to show only a snippet of each article and a "read more" link.

Where do you want to drive the traffic to? Presumably you want people to go read the full article? The only place the full text of the article should exist in on the URL that displays the full article, not the homepage. If you repeat the fulltext of each article on the homepage then it can potentially look like duplicate content to search engines. If you try and hide the full text using Javascript that is even worse as you are "cloaking" your content and Google doesn't like that.

What I would do: Show the snippet on the list page with the "read more" link and nothing more. Your keywords/SEO/content will be on the page with the full text. Push the users to the article page if they want to read the article - it's a static, linkable URL that should have a unique title and meta tags for full SEO potential. Your list page changes when new stuff is added.

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Perfect. Didn't even give the duplicate content issue any thought, thanks for pointing that out! –  Rasmus Mar 14 '11 at 9:54
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Hidden text in and of itself is fine. It only becomes a problem when you're hiding it for the sake of manipulating the search engines. This usually entails showing different content to your users then to the search engines. This is not the case here as you are simply hiding text temporarily to make the site more usable for your users. That content is readily available to them via JavaScript and, assuming you implemented this properly, if they don't have JavaScript enabled that content will be visible just like to the search engines (in fact exactly like the search engines since they generally don't have JavaScript capabilities).

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Javascript hidden content does index.

I have a client who uses a jQuery slider to rotate testimonials about his work in the middle of his page. Visually, it's great - every 8 seconds there's another two sentence snippet talking about his good work. But, the testimonials don't turn into the dreaded "wall of text with plenty of scrolling."

And, everything inside the slider is indexed. The site ranks #1 for many long tail search terms buried inside the slider - even though a typical page viewer won't stay on the page along enough to read them all.

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Further science on the subject: Had a client with a couple short paragraphs of text on the home page. Added a "Read More" button and about eight more paragraphs of collapsed text, and the SERPs soared.

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