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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    CSS Based Design to get better Search Rankings
    I'm starting to make the transition from table-based web design and am curious who else has made the leap? By this I mean you can build just about any webpage by replacing tables with CSS. Here is a great example:

    http://www.csszengarden.com/

    Click any of the links on the right and you'll see the same content with drastically different layouts. View the source of each of them and you'll find they're all the same document. Take a look at the accompanying CSS and you'll find that all the design is included there. It improves load time as your visitors only need to load the CSS once while each HTML page is substantially smaller.

    Doing this not only makes your load times faster, but it can help improve your search ranking. By removing the HTML your documents mostly containt searchable content. This improves your keyword density and makes it easier for the bots to determine your focus.

    I'm surprised this hasn't come up here as it's really gaining a lot of popularity lately. If you offer a blog service you can let your visitors upload their own CSS document to control every element of their blog design just like Blogger. From a development standpoint this makes maintenance even easier since you've got a single document that determines every aspect of your site design.

    This isn't the easiest habit to get into as I'm quickly learning, but the benefits far outweigh the learning curve. I think the trickiest aspect to all of this is floating blocks. Here's a great tutorial on those:

    http://css.maxdesign.com.au/floatuto...troduction.htm

    This is very cool stuff and I just wanted to share it with ABW.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Keyword density is a factor in rankings. I helped my father-in-law do an html makeover on his site which included removing lots of un-needed links. His rankings shot up dramatically.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Hey Snib,

    Great stuff!!! I just started learning a combination of XML, Web 2.0 and RSS to go with the CSS I know. But this will help greatly for my new redesign next year. Thanks
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    CSS Based Design to get better Search Rankings
    Don't bet on it.

    When I moved some sites to CSS, I got a short-lived pop in ranks, but that's it. Some of those sites look nicer, though...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  5. #5
    The Thin White Duke PreacherMan's Avatar
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    My store is entirely CSS-based but because it has always been this way I cannot tell you whether it has effected the rankings or not. The pages are super-light and the design and position of items can be changed easily from one CSS file. For example the logo appears at the top of the page when rendered in a browser but it is actually included in a layer towards the bottom of the HTML document. The most important information i.e. H1 tag, product decription is located near the top of the HTML document. I don't know if this makes a big difference but I'm sure it can't hurt.

    CssZenGarden was my paradigm shift moment to CSS. I will never go back to pure table layouts, yuck.
    Keep on learning, keep on earning. :fan:

  6. #6
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    I think using CSS is better with one factor being: there can be a lot less HTML.

    In other words, less HTML on the page, meaning page seems to have more 'content/text' , which in turn raises keyword density, etc etc. It could help a bit, but then again, how much of a ranking factor are the on page factors?

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogi
    In other words, less HTML on the page, meaning page seems to have more 'content/text' , which in turn raises keyword density, etc etc. It could help a bit, but then again, how much of a ranking factor are the on page factors?
    Good point. Most of it has to do with your link popularity. But even so, this saves a lot of typing for those of us who write HTML by hand and it helps improve load times for visitors. Search engine ranking aside this is still a great technique to use.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I'm surprised this hasn't come up here as it's really gaining a lot of popularity lately. - Scott
    Actually there have been several posts about this.

    Here is some more info:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=49072

    Css is fun to work with, and I like it a lot. You can do some amazing things with a style sheet (as in the zengarden reference).

    There have been several arguments for and against the use of tables vs css around the webmaster circuit. The participants can never argue each other out of their preferences. Table layout can be made to validate just as easily as css layouts can be. Table layout will be acceptable coding practice for the foreseeable future. But there is less code on the page with css.

    I believe the best use of css is to present your content first, before your navigation or anything else.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    "Doing this not only makes your load times faster, but it can help improve your search ranking."

    What a bunch of nonsense, the improve your search ranking part. You're not going to make any SE jumps by replacing tables with CSS because it has absolutely nothing to do with the relevance of any given search.

  10. #10
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Ya. The results don't have anything to do with load times. Except if your page is so bloated that the engine times out before getting all of it spidered. Then your results would suffer.

    You might see better results from shoppers who are still on dial up connections if you use a css layout. Impatient shoppers will go elsewhere if it takes a long while to load.

    For some strange reason MSN bot seems to like my full css sites more than the table layouts. Hasn't helped my rankings tho.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  11. #11
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    i've tried before, and not a difference in rankings. I think the search engines are smart enought to ignore the table tags and look at content, so its basically the same... but css makes the pages easer.

  12. #12
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    It's the type of thing that gets posted, people accept it as fact and gets posted everywhere, reminds me of when people post you'll get better SE rankings if your pages validate. People read that, spread it around but didn't take the time to actually test it out and it's something that's easily debunked. You could just go to your nearest SE, type in some terms and check out the sites on page 1. It's rare you'll find one that validates, Google doesn't even validate:

    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...www.google.com

    and of course whether your page validates or not has absolutely nothing to do with the relevance of any given search either. But if it validates you get to put a pretty little w3c banner on your page. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have the cleanest, fastest loading pages as possible, i'm just talking about SE ranking.

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    CSS makes maintenance, changes and page creation much easier - saves me a lot of time

    decreases chances of making coding mistakes cuz it converts many formatting elements to essentially be a template

    for me, it also allows for easier use of many tags that make an seo difference - for example, H1 tag, without CSS, can make things look horrible to a human visitor... with CSS, I can choose a consistent look and feel for the H1 tag and use it often through out my site without having to constantly add other tags to control the margins, size and layout on anything I markup as H1...

    and your pages do load faster for several reasons (not just cuz the smaller file sizes that come from it, but other factors... for example, nested table rendering slowdowns)

  14. #14
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    my sites new design when complete is basically css. No tables what so ever
    http://www.hardwaregeeks.com/index.php&?themeid=5

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    I'm doing my site re-design to create ease of updating for me. And to create a great design for John Q Public. I'm finding that the SE's want our marketshare and our money in their competition for world dominance. But that's the way it is in business. The age of SE benevolence is over. Get out the check books.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

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