An SEO professional asked John Mueller during the Question and Answer segment in a hangout about hidden navigational links on mobile.
Their question was: does it make a difference if they use a navigational link that is visible on a desktop, but it is hidden on mobile?
Can eventually non-visible navigation links be considered less relevant than visible ones?
John suspects that by “hidden on mobile,” the SEO pro means that it is not removed on mobile, but rather just not visible directly.
He explained that as long as the link is within the HTML of the page, for Google, that’s fine for crawling. They can still pass signals to those links, and all of this is fine. If, on the other hand, the link is not even in the HTML on mobile, and they crawl the site with mobile-first indexing, then Google would not see that link at all.
So this, he believes, is the important distinction to think about.
He also recommends checking this in Search Console with the inspect URL tool to try and fetch the page to see if the HTML in the link is actually still there.
If the link is there, then this should be just fine for Google.
This happens at approximately the 31:02 mark in the video.