do a WmW search on CSS text positioning... I think that's what you're referring to. You use CSS positioning to place the text at a specific point on the page, while having it come first in the actual HTML code.
I've been using absolute positioning for this HTML rearrangement on some sites. But it can be buggy in some browsers, when page layouts get complex. I was working on a page last week that just wouldn't render properly in Netscape 4.08 on Win2K, and I was lucky to have seen it on that particular combination.
So, I find there's plenty of use for non-CSS methods.