Knowing Why Tabbed Content Might be Hurting Your Search Rankings

Every writer loves to see its website’s body content look clean and concise. Therefore, as a solution, they usually put content behind tabs, but is tabbed content a good thing for your search engine optimization? Every effort that you make should be relevant to Google, especially if you are writing for SEO service. Hence, in this article we are going to discuss about how tabbed content will hurt your search rankings and what you should do to fix it. Find the answers below.

Why Tabbed Content Can Hurt Your Rankings

It is no secret that search engine crawlers have a difficulty in reading JavaScript over the years. Even though Google has made so many attempts to understand how JavaScript has become essential in modern day website design, still, there are so many things that should be fixed. This is because JavaScript is a complicated yet beautiful thing.

However, since we don’t know what part of JavaScript that Google can and can’t read, the best solution we can offer is to make sure that your JS are readable and not disallowed in your robots.txt. When Google doesn’t understand, any piece of content within that sector won’t be displayed or rendered. This means your well-structured content will offer no value to your search aspirations.

To know whether Google can understand your content or not, you can use the Fetch as Google function within Google Search Console, which displays both a rendered version for Googlebot and how a visitor will see the page.

So, what’s wrong with tabbed content? Well, tabbed content is typically created using JavaScript using div.tabs. While search engine can typically read this, Google, on the other hand, doesn’t have the ability like a human has to click on a different tab. The main reason is because the action that displays the tabbed content isn’t a standard hyperlink that crawlers are designed to follow.

In the example below, you can see how a standard piece of tabbed content contains a standard hyperlink:

<button class=”tablinks” onclick=”OPENTAB(event, ‘EVENTNAME’)” id=”defaultOpen”>TAB TITLE</button>




Therefore, Google can only read your first tab, since this is static on your page, while other tabs might be ignored. Can you imagine how many words you are losing out? For example, you have five tabs, all with 200 words in each, so you are losing out on 800 words on your page. In other words, this brings bad news to your webpage because it will surely lower your content quality for missing out on those keyword-rich and relevant pieces of content.

What Can We Do?

Nothing can make Googlebot effectively crawl your website, unless you completely remove tabbed content altogether. This is because tabbed content is dependent on the kind of code showcased above. By implementing this method, you can index every single piece of content you have created.

In fact, a research has been conducted to prove this theory. The results show that pages which weren’t gaining any positioning could possibly go from Page 3 to Page 1 only by removing the tabbed content. In fact, once the Googlebot notice that the rich content is not being hidden anymore, it will directly go to page 1 status.

Arguments against This Ideology

It is better to have many arguments rather than one, right? So, it will be good to consider other factors. Below is a short list of other possible factors that may have affected these search engine results:

  • Page age: When webpages have been developed for some times, it will get older, trust grows and will affect the position. However, the pages showcased in this research contain no information that indicates the date that the page is created.
  • Natural organic external links: In the time the research being monitored, no external links are built to these pages.
  • Algorithm changes: the ongoing content quality updates help. This means that ongoing algorithm changes would benefit pages that showcase more and relevant content.
  • Page creation: Prior to the page being developed, pages may not gain any position for 3 months.
  • Existing on-page optimization: Standard SEO is applied after the pages are created, such as meta optimization, content creation, header optimization and image optimization.

The Future Outlook

Now, the biggest question is, will Google ever be able to read tabbed content? There is no absolute answer for this question. In fact, any kind of answer is purely speculative. For now, through so many researches, we can conclude that Google isn’t ready to handle JavaScript, so it is better to keep a keen eye out for any JavaScript, for it may harm your websites rank.