Will Google Index Content Hidden by CSS?

Hiding content from Google is on the Webmaster Guidelines no no list.  In particular, Google states that you cannot hide content on a page using CSS: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66353

If Google is getting "smarter" with AI and machine learning, we've got to wonder if Google with index what appear to be blank pages.  Using CSS with display: none we can hide all the content and target keywords on a page so that it appears to be blank.  


Will Google crawl and index “blank” page where the content is hidden by CSS? Let’s find out!

We set up the test like this..

Hypothesis: Google will crawl and index blank pages where the content is hidden by CSS.


As a test set up, we've created 6 different pages with 6 different URLs. We've used English Lorem Ipsum with fake 6 keywords in different places on the page:

The content of the pages was hidden with display:none CSS. In order to display a couple of words on 3 urls <span data-nosnippet> tag was used.


The 6 pages were created and dislpay:none was added to pages to block the content on the pages from showing.

The fake keywords were re-checked to make sure that the word didn't have any results.

All of the pages were then submitted to Search Console.


Here is what we discovered

To our surprise, Google crawled and immediately indexed all six pages.

Final Takeaway

It was amazing that all of these pages indexed as quickly as they did.  It was as though they were regular pages! What amazed us even more is that the code clearly says "display:none."  It would appear that even though Google might be getting smarter at meaning, Google still isn't "seeing" a page.  Additionally, Google will consider content that is hidden in CSS.


Update: 4 months later, Google is still interested in crawling and indexing the pages. 


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