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I use a white div covering all screen before the page loads on a website.

Will this hurt my Google Search position? It's not like I'm hiding links on purpose, and I've seen loading screens on many sites, but still, I'd like to be sure.

In case Google will penalize this implementation, are there any workarounds?

To better describe what I mean, I'll copy the CSS and JavaScript for the "white div" thing here:

CSS

.spinner_wrapper { /*THE WHITE SCREEN*/
left: 0;
top: 0;
height: 100%;
z-index: 9999;
background-color: #fff;
}

JavaScript

$(window).load(function(){


$(".spinner_wrapper").hide();

/*some other stuff for the slider*/


});

Of course, I have a noscript element, so that if the user has JavaScript disabled, the white screen won't block viewing the content:

<noscript>
    <style>
    .spinner_wrapper{
            display: none;
    }
    </style>
</noscript>
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1 Answer 1

3

What you're doing is a legitimate practice and should not impact your organic visibility. The definition of cloaking is:

"...the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines."

You are not doing this. You're instead creating a temporary load screen until the browser has reached the load event, at which point you're then displaying the content, regardless of user-agent. As long as you stay true to that, you shouldn't have any issues. And, if by the off chance you did incur a penalty, you'd have a great argument to add to your Reconsideration Request.

I do have one suggestion, however. You may want to consider binding to the DOMContentLoaded event on the document object instead, as it normally fires before the load event and, depending on the quantity of resources loaded between DOMContentLoaded and load, would present the content quicker and provide a visually similar experience. It might be worth testing this out. Food for thought.

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    I don't think the issue of "cloaking" was ever raised, but rather whether the search engine/Google would perceive that there was no visible content (because it's covered with an opaque layer) and therefore not index anything? In other words, if Google was only "trying to be clever" it might detect that the content is hidden. However, if it is "properly clever" it would see that it's ultimately not. (?) A "Fetch and Render" in Google Search console should satisfy any doubt.
    – MrWhite
    Nov 10, 2015 at 23:34
  • You are correct, the issue of cloaking was never explicitly raised but I think most would agree that it was implied to some degree. And I agree, testing it out with a Fetch and Render from Search Console should give accurate insight.
    – nburr
    Nov 11, 2015 at 14:14

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