IpadEvery now and again, a senior figure from Google slips out a piece of information. Oftentimes we are not sure whether the snippet is meant to convince or confuse, but there can be little doubt about John Mueller’s recent comments.

A concerned web developer has posted a question to Google’s Q&A forum and the search engine giant wheeled out Mueller to answer it.

The question was in relation to whether hidden content on mobile versions of a website have a negative effect on SEO – a perfectly valid question given Google dish out penalties for hidden text.

“We are looking at desktop versions,” said the trends analyst. “So if it’s visible on the desktop version and you’re kind of holding it away, simplifying it on the mobile version, then that’s absolutely fine.”


However, there is room for abuse, and Mueller added if webmasters try to sneak hidden text in through the loopholes, they will receive a penalty.

Hidden text on mobile website versions

Now we know it is okay to validly hide text to fit on a mobile template, it makes web design and development much easier. After all, the focus for web designers is to improve the pages so it is easy to use on both desktop PC’s and mobile handsets.

However, you should still be careful about hiding text which could be translated by Google’s bots as an attempt to manipulate search results. Fitting a more button to highlight to visitors that other information is available will fix any uncertainty.

Furthermore, we also know that desktop versions of your website are Google’s priority and set precedents for your overall design. But do visits to made to your website via a mobile still influenced your rankings.

Mueller never confirmed this particular issue, but it would be crazy to think Google does not include mobile visits to calculate rankings. However, what Mueller did establish was that the hidden text on your mobile site must be the same information visually displayed on your desktop version – but why wouldn’t it be?

So Google’s if you can’t convince, confuse policy has been put into good use again after all. Websites designed for desktops take priority for calculating rankings, but more people are using mobile handsets. Thanks Google!

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