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I'm looking at how best to display content for my website. I plan to have a large number of pages of products, which will contain a large amount of information (ideally, the amount of information on each page will expand over time, as reviews are collected etc).

I've discounted separate pages for different bits of product information (eg photos, reviews etc) and would like to keep everything on-page. So I'm considering two options:

  1. Long pages of content (eg, Amazon's product pages)
  2. Pages using accordion tabs (eg, photos, reviews, descriptions etc displayed under separate tabs, but all on the same page)

I want to base my decision on best experience and where possible, evidence that one is more suitable for e-commerce than the other. That is, in terms of user experience and goal conversion performance.

At the moment, I'm inclined towards the long product page because i) Amazon's experience of it seems to work well for them and ii) there are potentially fewer rendering issues across different devices and platforms.

My question is, what evidence or data is available to help guide my decision and to rule out one over the other?

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1 Answer 1

SEO

For SEO, which actually might be quite important for online shopping, I would go for the long page. Hidden content is not referenced by search engines. Thus, some data might not be indexed.

The safe solution would be a long page.

Accesibility

Content has to be accessible. Tabs are not the solution.

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On the SEO aspect I'm not overly fussed, given that search engines will see the content stripped of its formatting. With regard to accessibility, unless I'm using an accordion that doesn't render tabs alternatively, there shouldn't be a problem, should there? IE, it renders the same way that a search engine sees the page, sans JavaScript. I'll update my question to clarify what I'm asking. –  James Jan 10 '12 at 18:01
1  
-1 This is all misinformation. Unless specifically loading accordion content from off-page(eg. Ajax tabs), it'll be indexed just fine; it's still in the source. If you can prove otherwise, provide citation links. James already pointed out the problems with the accessibility argument. –  Su' Jan 10 '12 at 18:28
    
I must disagree with you Su. First, if data is already loaded on the page, why use tabs? One of the main interest of tabs, is actually the ajax loading of content. Secondly, if data is loaded and hidden in tabs by Js, how do you handle no-javascript browsers? In no way, using Javascript for tabs has enhanced accesibility. If you do decide to use tabs, use them wisely and provide solutions for users with no js. –  Zenklys Jan 10 '12 at 21:58
    
Plus, gonna add one last thing. When displaying a page with content in a div with display: none or visibility:hidden from start, it is not going to be indexed. Otherwise everybody would write a lot of keywords in white text color on a white background and other things like that. Search engines are smarter then you think, Su. If you hide conten, do it via Js afterwards. –  Zenklys Jan 10 '12 at 22:03
    
Again: provide citation links for your claims. Here's mine, from the Google Webmasters YouTube channel: Will I be penalized for hidden content if I have text in a "read more" dropdown? If you disagree with him, you're going to have to provide a lot of links. Yes, the engines are smart, about you doing obviously sketchy things. The inquiry here is perfectly reasonable use. If James plans on doing questionable things, then he's taking his chances anyway, and we can't help him regardless. –  Su' Jan 11 '12 at 9:53

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