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  1. #1
    Full Member 212TomTom's Avatar
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    Does the order of your page affect Google/SE rankings?
    In a 3 column page layout using tables, Google will, I assume, typically read the first column, then the second, then the third. As the first column is usually a menu or something other than the body of your page (which won't necessarily contain your keywords), I've heard it suggested that you should "guide" Google's reading of the page to make it read the body of your page before the side columns.

    Does anyone know if Google really cares about the order of the items it reads on the page, and if making it read the main body ( containing keywords) first actually improves your ranking any?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
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    I've read the same thing, have the content read first, but who knows if that information is correct. So good question. I was wondering the same.

  3. #3
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    I've read that they read your site from left to right, then up to down.
    in the same article it also states that you would want your keywords at the beginning and end of your document.
    I don't have the link, sorry.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    Everything seems to matter, but the best advice I can give is to try it a variety of ways on similar pages and see which works best. i've moved some text from the bottom of pages to the top and it has helped, then i've duplicated some text on the top & bottom and I think that hurt me (maybe too many duplicate words?). it's all trial & error because they keep changing their algorythms, so if someone 'figures it out' then it will likely go away the next change.

  5. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I've always TRIED to have important content near the top, and then not been disappointed with the results.

    In some CMS layouts, where the left nav is displayed in the source near the top, I do better for the category titles than the page contents.

    As an example, if I had a site about dogs, with a product page about dog biscuits that didn't mention dog size, and my left nav had "Big Dogs", "Small Dogs", and "Man Eating Dogs", and that nav code appeared above my sales content in the source code, I would see more traffic for:

    Big dog biscuits
    Man eating biscuits
    etc...

    then for the actual product copy.

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    Kevin Webster
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  6. #6
    Full Member 212TomTom's Avatar
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    In case it does make a difference, there are some free good examples of 3 column CSS layouts on the web that are optimized for SEO. Based on the idea that Google reads the source code from top of the page to the bottom of the page, the source is layed out such that the center column is the first 'content' that Google, or any other bot would run into first.

    I found mine at matthewjamestaylor (dot) com but there are several others that show up in Google. I really liked his because it works in all browsers, doesn't have "hacks", and was as easy as copying the source, and replacing the content with my content. I don't know the guy personally, but he does have some great CSS code for screen layouts that he's willing to give away.

    If you're a "lazy coder" like me and can figure out how to change colors and maybe a column width on your own, I'd highly recommend it.

  7. #7
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    If it has any affect, I would imagine very little. Just not important to the relevancy of the page.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    I've always TRIED to have important content near the top, and then not been disappointed with the results.

    In some CMS layouts, where the left nav is displayed in the source near the top, I do better for the category titles than the page contents.

    As an example, if I had a site about dogs, with a product page about dog biscuits that didn't mention dog size, and my left nav had "Big Dogs", "Small Dogs", and "Man Eating Dogs", and that nav code appeared above my sales content in the source code, I would see more traffic for:

    Big dog biscuits
    Man eating biscuits
    etc...

    then for the actual product copy.

    FWIW
    I've noticed that too. Since trying to rewrite the code to put the body first is more than I want to tackle, I did the next best thing: I changed my category titles to be more SEO-ful.

    For highly-competitive terms, it doesn't seem to do much--enough competitors are doing the same thing (or better) that it negates it. But for some things it's helped a lot.

  9. #9
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Probably most important is put your top 2 or 3 keywords in title, h1, and h2 tags. That was always the rule of thumb and perhaps still is. Then, provided the page is not excessively long, I don't believe order matters all that much. For a very large page, order might be a factor.
    This World is Not My Home
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  10. #10
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    Google can figure out what's boilerplate, and tell the difference between what's repeated and unique text on individual pages. Is it the fact that the words in the navigation are earlier in the code, or that the page relates and is linked with the other page for the term?

    For snippets, unique meta descriptions are a good idea to have.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    I believe that the order Google's bot reads the page is the order in which it appears in the page source. I may be mistaken, but I don't think the Google bot attempts any rendering of the page, just scans the source.
    Richard Gaskin
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