tables v. css

A client ran a site I designed and maintain for them through a 3rd party SEO company (without my knowledge!)… one of the points that came back was:

“Additionally we noticed that the site layout is currently implemented using tables – this approach tends to lead to less search-engine friendly (although still technically valid) pages.”

Is this true, or is this a kind of scaremongering tactic?

I’m on the point of redesigning their site anyway, and could use the CSS layout option in FW5.5, even though I still favour table structure.

Just wondered what the SEO consequences really are?

Hugh


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Search Engines look for meaningful, structured content - table layouts are
totally fixed on positioning and thus are a dog’s breakfast when it comes
to meaningful structure.

This means using h tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) and actual, non graphical, text
to convey your site content. However, a layered design in FWP isn’t
guaranteed to produce meaningfully structured content either.

Your goal is to imagine your site content in an outline structure where h1
is used to introduce the “thesis” of your content, then descending order
header tags to introduce content in support of your theme or thesis.
However, because a layered css page has a three-dimension aspect that we do
not grasp in our two-dimensional browser, you must also take care to stack
things forward and backward as well as up/down/left/right… The Site pane
set to show items is best for this, noting that items sent backward move
“up” in the outline order, and “down” for items more forward.

It can be a challenge to work this way, but unless you’re unable to learn
anything new it is far from impossible.

There are techniques that help learn how search engines “think” - most
modern browsers come with a “Developer” feature that can be turned on…
check your preferences or google the subject. Turning of Styles and Images
when viewing your site is usually a big help (don’t forget to turn them
back “on” when you’re done). I also use site like this one to measure the
organization of my page content -
http://www.w3.org/2003/12/semantic-extractor.html

Best of luck…


Ernie Simpson

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 6:07 AM, hugh email@hidden wrote:

A client ran a site I designed and maintain for them through a 3rd party
SEO company (without my knowledge!)… one of the points that came back
was:

“Additionally we noticed that the site layout is currently implemented
using tables – this approach tends to lead to less search-engine friendly
(although still technically valid) pages.”

Is this true, or is this a kind of scaremongering tactic?

I’m on the point of redesigning their site anyway, and could use the CSS
layout option in FW5.5, even though I still favour table structure.

Just wondered what the SEO consequences really are?

Hugh


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Thanks for that, Ernie, will certainly look at the H1 tags at the very least - it was another point that was mentioned. I’m just slightly cynical of some of these SEO results because every man and his dog is beating at the door trying to sell you SEO! So it’s good to know a few ‘golden rules’.

Yes, I use the developer features of some browsers, or Firebug. although I’m not sure what you mean by ‘turning of (off?) styles and images when viewing your site…’ ?? Turning them off where/how?

cheers
Hugh


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Yes, I use the developer features of some browsers, or Firebug. although
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘turning of (off?) styles and images when
viewing your site…’ ?? Turning them off where/how?

I’m most familiar with Safari, whose dev tools are activated in the
Preferences and then appear in a menu:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s218/sh/d3601677-616c-4148-956a-f113e04236b3/5d0b28d23c5d85858d75f90da0ac26c1

Firefox also shows its dev tools in a menu:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s218/sh/8578947a-d6db-4614-bfdc-ff50f649545d/23fb2f8f6a5a4137692790d2e88b180f

Which only brings up a complicated menu at the bottom - which toggles open
with a “wrench” icon on the right. Then you have to select the “Styles” tab
and then click the eyeball icons to the left to “turn off” the styles. I’m
not sure how to disable the images. There used to be a developer plugin
(addon?) for Firefox that was loads easier, but I only use FF for visual
reference these days so I’m not current with it I’m afraid.

Skepticism of SEO companies and their promises is healthy and wise –
however, SEO itself as a practice should not be ignored.


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On 26 Jun 2013, at 13:58, Ernie Simpson email@hidden wrote:

Which only brings up a complicated menu at the bottom - which toggles open
with a “wrench” icon on the right. Then you have to select the “Styles” tab
and then click the eyeball icons to the left to “turn off” the styles. I’m
not sure how to disable the images.

Don’t forget, either, that Freeway’s preview allows you to turn off JavaSript and images…

best wishes,

Paul Bradforth


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