The problem with "display:none;" and SEO

hi all,

I have always made my pages “by hand”. just coding them, a bit of javascript here and there.

And because I like to experiment with designs, i use a lot of popup divs, which means i use “display:none” tags for those divs.

I’ve been told that this could be hurting my searchability. The pages have been online for a long time. does anyone have some advice on this?

Someone has been mentioned that I will have difficulty with SEO and that I need to use a CMS like wordpress.

what do you think my next move should be?

Is there something in my CSS I can change, or do I go the CMS route?


Have you considered using…

element {
    position: absolute;
    top: -999em;
    left: -999em;

…as an alternative?


Well, it depends.

Do the popups contain any information that would be interesting for search engines to crawl? If not, I wouldn’t worry about it. If yes, maybe look into alternatives for how you code that.

However switching from hand rolled to WP “because SEO” seems a bit of a cheap-shot to me. It’s not like WP will magically give you more SEO juice than other platforms. Sure, they have some optimizations, but you can code those into your hand rolled solution too.


Moving to WP just for SEO sounds like changing your car because the ashtray is full: a bit expensive move.

First of all did you see any changes in your traffic from organic search ? Check out your stats and Google Search Console ?

Are your main keywords in those display:none area ? I hope not ! See which words are there and if they are relevant use the options described above.


If you are able to write code yourself, you only realy need a CMS if you have a client (who can’t code) that needs to edit their content.
The chances are that moving from hand-coded to something like Wordpress will only slow your site down with bloat, which can be to the detriment of SEO.

Ask this someone how Wordpress will handle the pop-ups in a more SEO friendly way.
Then you could consider implementing these methods in your own code.
Though I suspect (having made such a suggestion) they won’t actually know.

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Yes there is a lot of important information in those divs. Basically it is a page of a lot of articles, that just popup in a modal.

In terms of cheap shot, I am not looking for massive “gains”, i am merely wondering if my content is “seen” or not!

Why not make a URL for the article as well and then link to the article from the button, and then with javascript prevent that and open a modal instead. That way search engines can go to that URL and read the article contents.

This will also ensure that people with javascript disabled also have a way to read your articles.

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