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10/17/16
Original Poster
Steve Faulkner

Extra context for vision impaired users has a negative effect on search ranking?

In the article HTML5 Accessibility Chops: hidden and aria-hidden  I described a well known method for providing extra text context for screen readers users. It uses the CSS clip method. Here is a codepen example of the method.

Can someone from Google provide advice on whether using this method, for providing text to users of assistive technology, will result in a negative effect on search rankings?
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Andrés Tirado
10/17/16
Andrés Tirado
Hi Steve

just my concept (I'm only a user)

I think you would apply the same concept that is used for "ALT" text in images, which is a content that is also oriented to persons with disabilities and is processed for his navigability, then if you use this text to describe a button, menu or another element in reason to navigability of disabilities persons, like

.sr-only class

is not a problem or cause negative effect, but if you use this to incorporate keywords only focused to the search engine then, yes.


Google not have any problem with handle hidden content that is focused with this kind of orientation (like happen in responsive sites that hide some elements that are shown in desktop versions but not hide the relevant content from the user) but certainly, you not should abuse with this and is much better if use with common sense


Regards




El lunes, 17 de octubre de 2016, 1:36:10 (UTC-5), Steve Faulkner escribió:
In the article HTML5 Accessibility Chops: hidden and aria-hidden  I described a well known method for providing extra text context for screen readers users. It uses the CSS clip method. Here is a codepen example of the method.

Can someone from Google provide advice on whether using this method, for providing text to users of assistive technology, will result in a negative effect on search rankings?
10/18/16
Original Poster
Steve Faulkner
Thanks for your thoughts on this Andrés. I am hoping that I can get an official clarification from Google as some SEO people advise that this method is a problem regardless of how it is used.
JohnMu
10/18/16
JohnMu
Hi Steve
It's awesome to see more sites make their content accessible to everyone! Kudos on trying to work out the best approach. 

Using something like that is fine. In general, what happens in a case like this is that we focus on the visible, primary content of the page, and de-emphasize the hidden / out-of-view content. So if you're providing extra context & hints like that, that would be fine. There's no "penalty" or "demotion" for having such additional content on a page (and at the same time, it's not something where it would make sense to stuff keywords in the hope that Google picks them up). Let me know if you have any further questions, I'm happy to do what we can to encourage more sites to provide good accessibility features.

Cheers
John

Google user
10/18/16
Google user
There is a persistent urban myth among developers that this fairly common accessibility technique will be penalised by Google's search algorithms. Particularly, the concern I come across is that Google may find that a page uses hidden content based on pure heuristics/code analysis - e.g. looking for CSS that hides stuff off-screen - and that the page is then flagged automatically as falling foul of the Quality Guidelines and thus demoted in search rankings, requiring developers to request a manual human reevaluation. Maybe some clarity on https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66353 to expand on how Google intends to differentiate (automatically) between accessibility-related hidden text and search-rank-gaming hidden text would be useful? And/or some clarification how authors can appeal an accidental false positive?
Aurelien Levy
10/19/16
Aurelien Levy
thanks John for this answer, have you also some info on google taking care of role="heading" aria-level="x" or not ?
 
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