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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I know Google gives pages a higher rank for headings, but does it also recognize the larger font sizes as important?

    I don't often use header tags as I don't always want the text to be bold. Some of the fonts I use like a little too "thick" when viewed in a large size and in bold.

    So would a "+4" be seen by Google as important text?

    Andy

  2. #2
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    Here's what Google's creators said back in 1998. No doubt some things have changed since then.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>4.2.5 Hit Lists A hit list
    corresponds to a list of occurrences of a particular word in a
    particular document including position, font, and capitalization
    information. Hit lists account for most of the space used in both the
    forward and the inverted indices. Because of this, it is important to
    represent them as efficiently as possible. We considered several
    alternatives for encoding position, font, and capitalization -- simple
    encoding (a triple of integers), a compact encoding (a hand optimized
    allocation of bits), and Huffman coding. In the end we chose a hand
    optimized compact encoding since it required far less space than the
    simple encoding and far less bit manipulation than Huffman coding. The
    details of the hits are shown in Figure 3. Our compact encoding uses
    two bytes for every hit. There are two types of hits: fancy hits and
    plain hits. Fancy hits include hits occurring in a URL, title, anchor
    text, or meta tag. Plain hits include everything else. A plain hit
    consists of a capitalization bit, font size, and 12 bits of word
    position in a document (all positions higher than 4095 are labeled
    4096). Font size is represented relative to the rest of the document
    using three bits (only 7 values are actually used because 111 is the
    flag that signals a fancy hit). A fancy hit consists of a capitalization
    bit, the font size set to 7 to indicate it is a fancy hit, 4 bits to
    encode the type of fancy hit, and 8 bits of position. For anchor hits,
    the 8 bits of position are split into 4 bits for position in anchor and
    4 bits for a hash of the docID the anchor occurs in. This gives us some
    limited phrase searching as long as there are not that many anchors for
    a particular word. We expect to update the way that anchor hits are
    stored to allow for greater resolution in the position and docIDhash
    fields. We use font size relative to the rest of the document because
    when searching, you do not want to rank otherwise identical documents
    differently just because one of the documents is in a larger font.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Found at http://dbpubs.stanford.edu:8090/pub/1998-8

  3. #3
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    As far as I know Google pays absoulutely no attention to fonts whatsoever currently.

    the {font} tag is deprecated on account of it being completely useless. This is not why google doesn't rank it though, i think.

    I can tell you from experience that the {h1} through {h6} tags carry significant weight though. Reapeat your page title as an {h1} bang at the top of your document and you'll see the change almost immediately.

    Don't want bold headings? That's what css is for friend!
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    /* in your stylesheet */
    .smallheading {
    font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
    font-weight: normal;
    font-size: 1em; /* regular size */
    text-align: center;
    margin-bottom: .5em;
    }
    </pre>

    and in your html
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    {body}
    {h1 class="smallheadding"}My keyword title{/h1}
    </pre>

    You can also add padding, margins, borders, background color, images etc, etc....

    The value of proper, valid xhtml/css is awesome, My current project works at a code/cotent ratio of about 60-70% and the filesize is about 5-6k for a very complicated page.

    Hope that's of some use [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    [ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: Nick W ]

    [ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: Nick W ]

  4. #4
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    hmmmmm.... sorry about the weird post, I'm new here and didn't realize such disaster would befall me if I posted html tags... send me a msg if you don't get it and I'll try again [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    If any of the mods want to doctor that... please be my guest!

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Joey's Avatar
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    Finally! Something my failing eyes can read! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Can we have a "Preview Post" feature for these boards?

    -Joey

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Yes, amen to CSS [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Then you can use H1, H2 or whatever you fancy.

  7. #7
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    Nick, your CSS skills and willingness to share will make you extreeeemely welcome around here! It's great to have you on board! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    I tried to see if I could touch up the post but my editing powers don't extend to all forums. You should be able to get in and edit it yourself though, to tweak so it looks the way you want. Check the icon with the pencil.

    Elisabeth Archambault

  8. #8
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    Thanks Elisabeth!

    I've edited it now, doesn't appear to be anyway to post html though?...

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Nick jumped right in with both feet - gotta love it! Keep posting Nick.

    And... <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>"Can we have a "Preview Post" feature for these boards?"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Yes, PLEASE can we have a preview function? While I am at it, how about a spell checker? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Fred

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I can tell you from experience that the {h1} through {h6} tags carry significant weight though. Reapeat your page title as an {h1} bang at the top of your document and you'll see the change almost immediately.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I added the key words from my page title in the upper left corner in H1 tags on a couple of pages. Ewwww, I don't like the way it looks, but we'll see how much difference it makes. I guess I can learn to live with it if it helps that much.

    There isn't enough consistency in my site to use CSS. I tried it and was always overriding things to make the page look the way I wanted it to. It was so much hassle, I dumped the CSS. I may look at it again going forward on my new revenue pages, though.

    Thanks for the help!

    Andy

  11. #11
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    I use font size in my h1 tags.

    My 2 cents.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    So the next obvious question is, will none of the search engines penalize you for this? I use a lot of heading in my old site, but I was moving to a better looking site, needless to say without header tags, and I had read soemwhere that google drops or penalizes sites that manipulate them like this.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>...I had read soemwhere that google drops or penalizes sites that manipulate them like this.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've heard the same thing. I've also heard you're penalized for text that matches the background.

    But someone also pointed out that it was impossible for Google to keep track of the various possibilities of text sizes, colors, and background colors. Even though the implication is that you get penalized, they said Google really didn't have the capability to monitor the millions of pages it indexes. Unless your competition turns you in!

    So, theoretically if you get caught, you get penalized, but you have to get caught first.

    Personally, that's too much of a risk for me. If I have to add a bunch of keywords to my page that match the background to get a good ranking, the page probably needs to be updated/optimized anyway. Plus, if people use Google's cache they see the words highlighted.

    I found this on a shopping site a few weeks ago. It ranked really high on Google for several big key words. I looked at the cached version, as I truly was shopping (they weren't my key words), and I saw a bunch of them highlighted on the page.

    It was a pretty big site with a bunch of different key words/categories that linked back and forth with each other. I wondered at the time if it belonged to an ABWer.

    It ranked highly in Google, so obviously some people are getting away with it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Andy

  14. #14
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>and I had read soemwhere that google drops or penalizes sites that manipulate them like this.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes and no. The things you are likely to be penalized for are:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Hidden h1 tags (using 'display: none' or positioned off the page with css
    <LI>Same color h1's as background (useless anyway, if you're gonna cheat, at least do it with some degree of sophistication [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
    <LI>Too many h1's: There should only be 1 h1 on a page. That's it's function.[/list]

    By styling your h tags you run no risk within reasonable limits. Stylesheets are not a dirty word, they're how it should be done and making your h1 normal not bold with a blue backgrouned and red border will not hurt you.

    The important thing is Good document structure

    H1 followed by h2, etc.... and in context to yuor content.

    The ideal html document for me reads like this:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>h1 heading (mirroring title)
    <LI>Cotent (body copy)
    <LI>left menu
    <LI>right menu
    <LI>Footer[/list]

    With css this is easy and with sensible styling you can use properly organized markup - lighter documents and more accessible documents to your SEO advantage [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  15. #15
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I have a question about using the css tags.

    I always thought google saw the web as we do with human like eyes. I didn't know that google could be tricked like this. Are you sure it still reads the heading tags if you cover them with css?

  16. #16
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    It's not a trick, though, Heyder. If you use an H1 tag as an H1 tag, it is up to you how you choose to present it on your site.

    And yes, search engines read it as they would any other tag.

    The only problems arise when you start putting large amount of text in an h1 or , as Nick said, use multiple h1 tags or hidden text. And that's true regardless of whether you use css or not.

  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I always thought google saw the web as we do with human like eyes. I didn't know that google could be tricked like this. Are you sure it still reads the heading tags if you cover them with css?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Absolutely 100%, without any shadow of a doubt about it positively certain [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Firstly, as markymark said. It's not a trick. It's the correct way to style and layont an html document.

    Secondly, Google and the the gang don't read style declarations. In fact they only read certain text related areas of an html page. More weight and differtent meaning is portioned out depending on tags, but it's the text they're after.

    An SE only sees {h class="stlye"}your text here{/h1}

    It does not see that it's styled to be 18px, verdana, bold with a top-border of 3px

    Reason being? It's not important. What is important is the structure of a document. There's some stuff on this on the site in my profile or even better, check out the browser/html/css forum on Webmasterworld. Soem serious css guys there, (including me [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img])

    [ 08-05-2002: Message edited by: Nick W ]

  18. #18
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    Please define "header tag." I am sure I use them but don't know exactly what they are. And what is {h1} and {h6}?

  19. #19
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    Hi

    header tags are h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 and h6 enclosed in angle brackets of course. I just used curly braces becacue this board allows html posting so they actually get parsed and printend to the page as html rather than code examples.

    There are different levels of headings and although technically speaking browsers should not render them bold or sixed, they do. h1 is the biggest at about 2x the size of default text. h4 is the same size as default text and so on... they are usually rendered as bold.

    There should only be one h1. Ideal for echoing the title of a page, the title should contain your keywords of course.

    h2 generally signifies the start of a new section of a page, h3 a major subsection, h4 a minor heading and h5 and h6 I'm not sure on. Although I've used h5's in footers before.

    Google attributes a fair bit of weight to the h tags and if you use them correctly and sensibly you not only get good SEO but also good document structure (at least better anyway) which means better accessabiility etc...

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>which means better accessabiility etc...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> It's well worth paying attention to accessibility issues, and not just because you're such a nice, warm-hearted, considerate, thoughtful person. (Although you are, aren't you? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )

    Things like informative ALT tags, link titles, carefully constructed link text etc. all make life easier for someone visiting your page with an audible browser reader. These things often help you in the search engines too if you use them wisely.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I'm disappointed to find out that Google doesn't pay much attention to text size attributes, but it seems like bold text might have some impact.

    The "H1" tags do make for some pretty hefty text, especially right at the top of the page.

    I've seen pages with this before, and I always thought it had to be for the SEs, I just didn't realize how important it was.

    Andy

  22. #22
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    Andy,

    you'll find that the use of {strong}bold text{/strong} and {em}italic text{/em} are even better and make more sence across devices...

  23. #23
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    Thanks, Nick, for the info.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    Ya, thanks Nick and everyone, this is awesome, now hopefully I won't lose as much traffic when I change my site, woohoo.

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