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How bad is it to use display: none in CSS?

I was wondering if search engines can read <a> elements with display:none.

Is it true? Can search engines see elements hidden by CSS rules?


2 Answers 2


Yes, they can, but beware: if you stuff invisible elements with keywords and they find out, you could risk getting excluded from their search results.

  • oh, yeah, they can see the invisible elements and they can see you where hiding them, so hide them for a reason or yes, they will go medieval.
    – ZJR
    Aug 18, 2011 at 4:02
  • Interesting. Can search engines tell if you hide elements using Javascript? Aug 18, 2011 at 4:23
  • Well, that would be a quite extensive and inconclusive mechanical analysis on their part, so I would say: "hardly: probably no."
    – ZJR
    Aug 18, 2011 at 20:44


From http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200510/google_seo_and_using_css_to_hide_text/

Those are all legitimate reasons to hide text, but many developers have still been worried that Google and other search engines may start to algorithmically flag any sites that use CSS to hide text as possible spammers.

Up until now, that has not been the case (at least not officially), but in the post SEO Mistakes: Unwise comments, Matt Cutts, who works at Google, states that I don’t recommend that people use CSS to hide text. That statement of course generated a whole lot of comments and questions from worried developers and webmasters.

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