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heading 1 Tags - Still Relevant?
bekyed

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 8:39 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are the heading 1 tags still relevant with google or shall we remove them from our websites completely
What are your feelings on this?

 

Chris_R

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 9:50 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well they obviously pay attention to different types of text. they admit as such here:

"For each query,Google factors in 100 variables, including anchor text, URL patterns, fonts and positioning data to calculate relevance."

[google.com...]

And I don't think they mean arial versus geneva.

There is nothing wrong in doing this - as long as they do it smartly - which they did - at least in the papers. You can't stuff keywords - as they don't count after a certain point - and the more words in the tag - the less improtant it becomes.

Search engines would be WORSE if they did not include or deweighted this data.

There are other methods that can be used to validate the trust of the page - and not all of them rhyme with sagefrank.

SuzyUK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member suzyuk us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:02 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Disregarding headers would be like saying: okay, this page uses the word widgets 4 times, lets disregard that word in our analysis.

I really wish it were that simple sometimes, but....If the word "widgets" did appear 4 times on a page then the choice should be what weighting is given to each instance of the word. Inside an <hn> element it might have greater weighter in an ideal world..., or the analysis could choose to disregard those elements(severe) or it could give them equal weighting to "normal" text (fair).... which would be easier than disregarding them altogether

Suzy

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:10 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Scroll down to 2.3 Indexing the Experts

Hilltop: A Search Engine based on Expert Documents [cs.toronto.edu]

To locate expert pages that match user queries we create an inverted index to map keywords to experts on which they occur. In doing so we only index text contained within "key phrases" of the expert. A key phrase is a piece of text that qualifies one or more URLs in the page. Every key phrase has a scope within the document text. URLs located within the scope of a phrase are said to be "qualified" by it. For example, the title, headings (e.g., text within a pair of <H1> </H1> tags) and anchor text within the expert page are considered key phrases. The title has a scope that qualifies all URLs in the document. A heading's scope qualifies all URLs until the next heading of the same or greater importance. An anchor's scope only extends over the URL it is associated with.

The inverted index is organized as a list of match positions within experts. Each match position corresponds to an occurrence of a certain keyword within a key phrase of a certain expert page. All match positions for a given expert occur in sequence for a given keyword. At every match position we also store:

1. An identifier to identify the phrase uniquely within the document
2. A code to denote the kind of phrase it is (title, heading or anchor)
3. The offset of the word within the phrase.

That's how their minds work.

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:14 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fair point, Suzy, I was over simplifying in order to drive home the point.
What I'm trying to say is this: The only sensible approach to determine relevancy of docs is to analyze the content and the importance.
Content is inevitably structured. It's basic publishing rules at work. Any edu doc has headers.

If SEs would start disregarding those basic, they'd lose some of the best data they have for determining relevancy.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:26 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Discussion: heading 1 Tags - Still Relevant?

first of all, i'd like to say that i'm far from being what is called an seo.

Hmm. The discussion revolves around an seo issue. If you aren't qualified to offer an expert opinion, then perhaps you should qualify your contribution to an seo discussion as such, and frame your statement as an opinion apart from the topic of seo-

As Marcia has stated, such contributions can mislead other less experienced people who are looking for "optimization enhancements" and lead them to try things that may backfire on them. And give birth to seo myths.

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:34 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like to place body text directly beneath headings without any empty space. I achieve this by using <FONT> and <BR> tags. I was planning to achieve the same effect using CSS and <Hn> tags when I next update my site in a few weeks.

My question is this. Should I take time off now to make the changes because they will help me climb up the SERPS or should I get on with my my other work and make these changes when I have more time? Or, to put it another way, will my website benefit significantly from these changes?

Thanks in advance for any helpful replies.

Kaled.

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 11:11 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

>qualify your contribution

Nah, I wouldn't say so. It's often the - informed - view from different fields in this area which make for interesting and refreshing discussions.
After all nobody really knows how the algo designers view the header tags.

There are two docs now in the discussion. One is from the W3.org, the other is the Hilltop paper.
One describes standards for publishing content, the other a method to analyse and rank content.
Somewhere between those two points of view, publisher and search engine, lies the truth :)

What the quote Marcia presented points to however is what I tried to say above: basic structural elements of webpublishing are at the same time the best set of data the search engines have to rank pages.

I think as web promoters we have adopted a pretty reactive mindset. It's all too much about what SEs might view as exploit, about what to avoid.

Granted, SEs react to webpromoters adapting to their ranking mechanisms. But we should not forget, that SEs first have to determine what type of data they need and what they have for doing analysis and ranking.
It's not like SEs can choose from an endless varitey of data to do that. The data they can use are limited. And headers certainly belong to the few valuable data sets they have to work with.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 1:11 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's often the - informed - view from different fields

first of all, i'd like to say that i'm far from being what is called an seo.

Exactly my point. His contribution in regard to seo was - uninformed -and his statement should have been qualified as such. The discussion revolved around seo issues, and he admits above that he is far from being an seo. His comments were on a topic related to seo. He is un-informed. For the purpose of clarity, his statement should have been qualified as such, i.e something like this:
"As someone who doesn't know about seo, but speaking from the point of view of an author of HTML and issues surrounding valid markup..."

That would have been an appropriate qualification to his statement. This is important because uninformed statements about seo issues can mislead those who don't know better, give rise to misguided seo strategies, and generally ruin the quality of information and discussion at WW.

What would be next, Comment Tag Stuffing 101?

One of the virtues of WW is that comments and speculation are vetted by discussion here, and pretty much the best observations rise to the top.

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:27 am (utc) on July 7, 2003]

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 1:27 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nothing needs to be qualified. No-one pays for information here, so everyone should make their own value judgements as to what they feel is good advice, and what is not. "Facts" that are disputed by a large number of other posters within a thread, are probably not worth reading; whilst similar information being dispensed by a large number of participants, or undisputed by the majority of posters, is probably worth paying attention to. Readers should be able to make their own mind up what to trust and what to dump.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 1:33 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hehehe, these <h> topics are pretty much a weekly thing. It's fun to discuss them though, I think we learn something new each time the topic makes its rounds.

8.11. From the W3C - The heading elements [w3.org]

A heading element briefly describes the topic of the section it introduces. Heading information may be used by user agents, for example, to construct a table of contents for a document automatically.

You know, I probably would not recommend that graphics be utilized within an <h> element. Why? Because it just doesn't feel right to me. As much reading as I've done at the W3C, I can't recall ever seeing anything relative to an image inside an <h> element.

This keeps coming up whenever referencing information relative to the <h> element...

Visual browsers usually render more important headings in larger fonts than less important ones.

Nowhere do they tell you what visual browsers do with an image there. Of course we know alt text will be shown if images are off. You know, in theory, you would think the alt text should be equivalent, but I don't think it is. I've never used anything but text within an <h> element so I should probably get out of this topic while I can, hit and run! ;)

rfgdxm1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 1:36 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

All of my posts come with a double your money back guarantee if not totally satisfied. ;)

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 3:00 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Nothing needs to be qualified. No-one pays for information here

They don't pay us in cash, but they do make an investment. That investment consists of the time they spend asking, and that investment is backed by the trust they're placing in us as a collective that they'll get responsible answers that they can rely on. You cannot buy that kind of trust with money.

Some of us who love WebmasterWorld and the Google News Forum, and care about our members, feel a sense of humility and gratitude for that trust, and feel it's our responsibiity to do whatever we can, to the best of our ability, to attempt to maintain the integrity of the information presented here.

>>so everyone should make their own value judgements as to what they feel is good advice, and what is not.

Often those who are asking have no basis upon which to be able to make accurate value judgments as to what's good advice and what is not.

>>"Facts" that are disputed by a large number of other posters within a thread, are probably not worth reading; whilst similar information being dispensed by a large number of participants, or undisputed by the majority of posters, is probably worth paying attention to.

There are no "facts" when it comes to algorithmic interpretations, but there are data and standards that can lay the foundation for being able to make valid judgments. That is exactly why an interactive venue like we have here is more valuable than one way communiations that can't be refuted at the locale.

There are some who might do posts that might sound authoritative and accurate, but in fact are not. So in a caring, communal interactive environment such as this the elder members by reason of experience and/or ability, who generally have a keener eye and more highly developed sense of accuracy are capable of dispelling myths and inaccuracies and engaging in dialog that can clarify points for those their junior.

>>Readers should be able to make their own mind up what to trust and what to dump.

Those who have the ability to do so, do. Those who don't can benefit from the ability and dialog of others until such time as they grow into having those capabiities. Then they will, and in turn will do the same for others.

Right here we can see in action the critical difference between one-way media such as articles and the interactive dynamics of a community of like-minded individuals engaging in meaningful discourse.

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 4:31 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just want to clarify a couple of things here. Forget Google, no comment there - I am just talking about W3C, HTML and usability.

Exactly - but <h1>...</h1> is markup intended to provide a hierarchical size measure of TEXT to indicate relative importance as compared to <p> and <hn> that are lesser.

Couple of things wrong in there. Forget "size" and forget "text". Think "meaning" and "content" instead.

Yes, you can put an image tag in an h1 - the document that tells you this is [w3.org...] DTD are tricky to understand, but its worth learning to read them.

From a pure usability persepctive putting a title image inside an h1 is the correct thing to do. Forget Google, forget presentation. h1 means top level heading, if you are using an image as a top level heading then it should be in an h1 tag.

Imagine you are using a screen reader. This software can (in theory) pick off the most important parts of a page and summarise the page for the user. What is it going to pick off? Obviously <hn> tags are important, the <title> is important, links can also be of value.

If you're using an image as title and headings, which lots and lots of people do, what can the screen reader do to convey the meaning of the page to the user? If its in an h1 and has alt text then its no problem - the meaning gets to the user anyway.

Another misconception is that the ALT attribute is a tooltip or a place to say something above and beyond what the image says. Its not, there is a TITLE attribute that is supposed to be used for this. ALT is short for alternate - it is text that should convey the meaning of the image when the user is not able to view the image itself. There is one major browser that gets this completely wrong.

So if your image/title says "Blue Widgets" the ALT attribute should also say "Blue Widgets". It should not say "we have a wonderful range of blue widgets in a range of colours and sizes".

-------

I've made sites that are pure W3C style html/css. From what I have seen they go well in the SERPS, but I have no idea whether the mark up has anything to do with this.

From a webmaster point of view they are a dream come true. Incredibly easy to manage, very easy to script backend stuff for. From a users point of view I think they are equally beneficial.

I really suggest people stop spending so much time on tweaks & hacks hoping to climb one spot higher in the rankings and start thinking about building content that is highly manageble and usable and useful. I really think the longer term benfits of this are huge.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 4:48 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Images with their respective attributes and <Hn> - Headings with their respective attributes are in two completely separate sections:



<!--=================== Headings =========================================-->
<!--
There are six levels of headings from H1 (the most important)
to H6 (the least important).
-->

<!ELEMENT (%heading;) - - (%inline;)* -- heading -->
<!ATTLIST (%heading;)
%attrs; -- %coreattrs, %i18n, %events --
%align; -- align, text
alignment --
>



<!--=================== Images ===========================================-->

<!-- Length defined in strict DTD for cellpadding/cellspacing -->
<!ENTITY % Length "CDATA" -- nn for pixels or nn% for percentage length -->
<!ENTITY % MultiLength "CDATA" -- pixel, percentage, or relative -->

<![ %HTML.Frameset; [
<!ENTITY % MultiLengths "CDATA" -- comma-separated list of MultiLength -->
]]>

<!ENTITY % Pixels "CDATA" -- integer representing length in pixels -->

<!ENTITY % IAlign "(top¦middle¦bottom¦left¦right)" -- center? -->

<!-- To avoid problems with text-only UAs as well as
to make image content understandable and navigable
to users of non-visual UAs, you need to provide
a description with ALT, and avoid server-side image maps -->
<!ELEMENT IMG - O EMPTY -- Embedded image -->
<!ATTLIST IMG
%attrs; -- %coreattrs, %i18n, %events --
src %URI; #REQUIRED -- URI of image to embed --
alt %Text; #REQUIRED -- short description --
longdesc %URI; #IMPLIED -- link to long description
(complements alt) --
name CDATA #IMPLIED -- name of image for scripting --
height %Length; #IMPLIED -- override height --
width %Length; #IMPLIED -- override width --
usemap %URI; #IMPLIED -- use client-side image map --
ismap (ismap) #IMPLIED -- use server-side image map --
align %IAlign; #IMPLIED -- vertical or horizontal alignment --
border %Pixels; #IMPLIED -- link border width --
hspace %Pixels; #IMPLIED -- horizontal gutter --
vspace %Pixels; #IMPLIED -- vertical gutter --
>

<!-- USEMAP points to a MAP element which may be in this document
or an external document, although the latter is not widely supported -->


The specifications are for HTML Markup. The attributes for Headings are for indicating characteristics of the text that is in the Headings.

Images are not HTML Markup. Rather, HTML Markup is used to define what the characteristics of the placement of and attributes of images will be.

Where are the common attributes where what applies to one applies to the other? What is there in the Markup for Headings that is applicable to images?

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 5:24 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Images with their respective attributes and <Hn> - Headings with their respective attributes are in two completely separate sections:

Yes that is correct. But look at this line.

<!ELEMENT (%heading;) - - (%inline;)* -- heading -->

This says (to me) that the %heading "group" can *contain* zero or more elements in the %inline "group".

The img element is part of the %special "group".

<!ENTITY % special
"A ¦ IMG ¦ APPLET ¦ OBJECT ¦ FONT ¦ BASEFONT ¦ BR ¦ SCRIPT ¦
MAP ¦ Q ¦ SUB ¦ SUP ¦ SPAN ¦ BDO ¦ IFRAME">

Which in turn is part of the %inline "group".

<!-- %inline; covers inline or "text-level" elements -->
<!ENTITY % inline "#PCDATA ¦ %fontstyle; ¦ %phrase; ¦ %special; ¦ %formctrl;">

[w3.org...] is probably the best guide to this sort of stuff.

The specifications are for HTML Markup. The attributes for Headings are for indicating characteristics of the text that is in the Headings.

Not quite - again substiute "text" for "content" and this is correct.

Images are not HTML Markup. Rather, HTML Markup is used to define what the characteristics of the placement of and attributes of images will be.

True, but the text between <p> tags is not HTML mark up either - it is content. HTML is for descibing content. Images are a type of content. HTML can be used to descibe an image and how it relates to other content with in a document.

Where are the common attributes where what applies to one applies to the other? What is there in the Markup for Headings that is applicable to images?

All I am saying is that:

<h1><img src="blue_widgets_title.gif" alt="Blue Widgets"></h1>

and

<h1>Blue Widgets</h1>

are saying the same thing. I'm not suggesting the <h1> knows anything about images. Apart from the fact that it only likes to contain %inline elements it really doesn't care what it contains. It just sits there saying "My content is a heading!".

I went 6 years of HTML authoring before any of this hit home. I started running HTML TIDY over my code a little while ago and it started pulling me up for problems I had never considered before. The people on the TIDY lists said read the DTD. I don't think this is required knowledge for every html author - I just wanted to point out that you *can* and *should* flag titles with <h1>, even if they are images.

I'm sure I'm boring all the happy SEOs out there by now.

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 5:38 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

One more thing - I'm not trying to come on as an expert. I'm just trying to explain how I understand things and contribute what I can. If anyone has anything to add or corrections to what I am saying please speak up.

We are all learning here.

daamsie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 7:30 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks gilli and martin, I for one appreciate the explanation and think that you appropriately posted in this thread and have pointed out some very interesting things. I do think it will most likely not help your rankings any having images in H1 tags, but then again I'm no SEO expert either :-p

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 7:57 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is just a tidbit -- what might be an early warning. The W3C is talking about deprecating H1 through H6 elemnts in XHTML 2.0. It's not decided at all, but the topic is on the table.

The new scheme being talked about would have a single <h> element, accompanied by as many <section> elements as the document needs.

By representing the structure of documents explicitely using the section and h elements gives the author greater control over presentation possibilities than the traditional implicit structuring using numbered levels of headings. For instance, it is then possible to indicate the nesting of sections by causing a border to be displayed to the left of sections.

W3C reference [w3.org] - Item 8.5 (Headings)

Also a comment on this:

...you *can* and *should* flag titles with <h1>, even if they are images.

There should be only one H1 tag per page. <h2> through <h6> are for the rest of the headings, but there is only one PAGE heading.

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 8:16 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

tedster

Yes.. XHTML2 is looking at changing the way heading are referenced (among many other things). However HTML4 is not going to die so you can continue using h1-h6 for as long as you like so long as you are using a doctype that supports it.

I really can't see XHTML2 being adopted by the general web comminuty for a very long time (if ever). Too much pain for so little gain.

And yes. I should have written:

...you *can* and *should* flag titles with <hN>, even if they are images.

Namaste

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 8:36 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have never seen any proof that H1 text gives any benefit over other text.

TravelMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 9:35 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

There should be only one H1 tag per page. <h2> through <h6> are for the rest of the headings, but there is only one PAGE heading.

This makes sense, especially within the context of a properly structured document.

I'd like to share my recent experiences regarding h1 tags.

I have played around with the tag and have found, for me at least, that on pages where I used more than 1 h1 tag or placed <b> tags within <h1><b>over optimised text</b></h1> Then pages that should rank reasonably ok, e.g not in ultra competitive serps, haven't done as well as similar documents without the over seo'd emphasis.

very loose and brief outline of over seo'd page

//makes it between positions 70 + on 500,000 + result serps

<h1><b>kw kw kw</b></h1>
<p>blah blah blah <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw</p>

<h1>kw kw kw</h1>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm"><b>kw link text </b></a>blah kw</p>

<h1>kw kw kw</h1>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm"><b>kw link text </b></a>blah kw</p>
etc

very brief illustrative example of page that hasnt been overdone

//page 1 or 2 on 500,000 + result serps

<h1>kw kw kw</h1>
<p>blah blah blah <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw</p>

<h2>kw subheading <h2/>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw</p>

<h3>kw subheading <h3/>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw and text</p>

<h4>kw subheading <h4/>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw and other text</p>

very brief illustrative example of page that hasnt been overdone without extra H tags

//no data yet regarding serps awaiting next update

<h1>kw kw kw</h1>
<p>blah blah blah <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw</p>

<p>kw subheading </p>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw</p>

<p>kw subheading </p>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw and text</p>

<p>kw subheading </p>
<p>different text <a href="kw.htm">kw link text </a>blah kw and other text</p>

I am often torn as to how I should structure a document for max effect. What do you people think?

P = however many paras are appropriate.

Should we

H1 P - H2 P H3 P -H4 P ETC ETC

OR

Should we

H1 P - H2 P - H2 P -H2 P ETC ETC

OR

Should we

H1 P - <B>P</B> P - <B>P</B> P - ETC ETC

Or

H2 P - H3 P - H4 P -H5 P ETC ETC

Or

H2 P - H3 P - H3 P -H3 P ETC ETC

I think all of the above could be ok in one way or another, as not every one strictly follows html conventions, many people of all backgrounds and motivations make web pages and seldom use html correctly. This doesnt mean that what they have to say is any less important!

Perhaps G should give most weight to the first Hn tag only.If other hn elements appear within the document then they should perhaps be given a lesser decremental weighting, but *only if* they are within the context of a hierarchical document. If they are not, then treat them plain old text or ignore them completely.

The two recent updates, and the current shifting indexes, do of course, make it very difficult to make any accurate assessment of any particular weighting. Which is quite probably exactly what Google wants. :)

bekyed

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:00 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it ok to have

Heading1
heading2
heading3

On one page or is this spam.

Bek.

Martin Dunst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:07 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

travelman,

just one comment on your usage of <b>:
the b [w3.org] element does not add any emphasis to its content, it just means "bold text style".

if you want to emphasize, the em element or the strong element [w3.org] would be appropriate.

again, this is my opinion regarding html, i do not know how search engines would handle the elements mentioned.

regards
martin

[edited by: Martin_Dunst at 10:34 am (utc) on July 7, 2003]

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:23 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

TravelMan

This is a very personal opinion - so take it with a grain of salt:

Or should we

Stop navel gazing and design sites that work primarily for the user (this is generally pretty simple and cost effective) and leave it at that.

I really don't think that <h1><b>kw kw kw</b></h1> is going to have any tangible advantage over <h1>kw kw kw</h1>. And once you start down that path where do you stop?

I have not seen any evidence that <h1> tags have any effect in Google, but I think they are still the right thing to use because they can help the user by making your page more meaningful. Using <h1> in conjunction with <b> does NOT help your user or add meaning.

I really think that time is better spent gathering links, building good content and site structure, learning what your *users* want and enjoying life.

many people of all backgrounds and motivations make web pages and seldom use html correctly. This doesnt mean that what they have to say is any less important!

I think that is a very interesting point. All the work that is going into XHTML at the moment is about making the web easier for machines to understand. In this process it is making it harder for Joe Average to author documents.

There is a great quote from Sergey Brin (searching on it now I've found about 3 versions saying basically the same thing) - "We should use computers to understand humans, not humans to speak in computer-ese."

I think the thing that has made the web the success it is is that its pretty easy to use.

The flip side is that there are tangible benefits in marking stuff up in a diciplined & meaningful way. There are benefits in XHTML 1 & 2 and all the rest.

I really think the type of mark up that some popular word processors and other authoring tools produce is harmful because it makes the web harder to use. I also think that when people who understand how things should be done, deliberately go about doing them the incorrectly for whatever reason its also harmful.

There is a balance in there somewhere. But I really think you can do pretty damn well in the SERPs by focusing 95% of your efforts on the user experience.

TravelMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:28 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Or should we

Stop navel gazing and design sites that work primarily for the user (this is generally pretty simple and cost effective) and leave it at that.

I hear the sentiment, and agree completely. :) I'm sure that as SE's get better, then overtime the economic necessity in certain SERPs to explore and engage in such pursuits will be diminished.

<added>
Using <h1> in conjunction with <b> does NOT help your user or add meaning.

Agreed, but it *may* have made an overall difference in the score. I dont like the fact that I have to try what I do, but the reality is that if I do not prod and poke then my competitiors will.It may not be right, but it has to be done, otherwise I end up on page 10 and out of work :(

[edited by: TravelMan at 10:34 am (utc) on July 7, 2003]

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:34 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

bekyed

Don't fuss about it. If your document has multiple heading levels, then go for it.

I doubt Google would penalize you even for putting <h1> tags around each and every word, because this is a mistake that a novice could make. I also doubt doing this would help you in any way in the SERPs.

tedster's comment regarding not using more than one <h1> tag in a page has nothing to do with Google. He was talking about best practice in HTML and I agree with him completely.

Personally I think this whole h1/Google thing is *almost* irrelevant and this conversation would be better placed in one of the other forum's as the topic has veered onto HTML style and best practice than anything Google related. This is probably mostly my fault :(

<edit>couple of typos</edit>

[edited by: gilli at 10:39 am (utc) on July 7, 2003]

gilli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:38 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Agreed, but it *may* make an overall difference in the score. I dont like the fact that I have to try what I do, but the reality is that if I do not prod and poke then my competitiors will.It may not be right, but it has to be done, otherwise I end up on page 10 and out of work :(

I understand where you are coming from, but personally I think it would be a waste of time and effort. But if I am wrong then I will continue to happily bury my head in the sand and dream of how its meant to be :)

Thankfully SEO is a hobby for me and not a lively hood - I don't think I will ever be very good at it.

TravelMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 10:42 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Martin

Ive never used the <strong> tag always used <b>.

I think the jury is still out on the effectiveness of one against the other.

To me <B> is much more cost effective, especially as I am studying at the school of bandwidth reduction :)

Although, if anyone can point toa positive example showing how strong is better than B then Im all ears. :)

ruserious

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 11:20 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

There should be only one H1 tag per page. <h2> through <h6> are for the rest of the headings, but there is only one PAGE heading.

This makes sense, especially within the context of a properly structured document.

I disagree with this. I know this is an opinion held by a lot of people I look up to when it comes to (X)HTML and Webstandrards, but still. IMHO we already have another unique element which describes what the topic of the page is, it's the <title> element.
Nowhere does it say or imply in the specs that you should use h1 only once. If you are writing a book (which has to be also a well structured document), you don't cram the whole book into one section, which is named the same as the book's title. The title describes what the whole thing is about, and the <h1> to <hn> describe the subsections of the page.

But IMHO this is all up to personal preference, neither opinion is "inherently better" than the other one.

With respect to Google: I could imagine the have a sort of scoring mechanism (like SpamAssasin, or maybe sth. more like bayesian-filtering), where things that could be done to trick searchengine earns you spammy points, but only once you surpass a certain limit (of points/probability), will Google start discounting the things you did to improve ranking. So "display:none" may be ok and result in no problems when it's found on an otherwise ok-page. But when found together with 'invisible text' etc. the same "display:none" may be ignored.

No, I can't proove this with tests, however given that these kind of scoring-algorithms/bayesian-filtering etc. are very effective in dealing with email-spam, it would make sense to try these things on web-pages as well.

Just as Browsers use doctype-switches to decide how to render a page (standards-mode or Ie-propietarymode [quirks]), why shouldn't google weigh the same html-elements differently, based on certain criteria found in the page...? (Ok, just thinking aloud, sorry)

Namaste

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 11:30 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Above I had said that I have never seen H1 make a differance.
I want to revise that: Since this new double algo Google is deploying, on certain days, in page factors such as keyword density, H1, etc. are making a HUGE positive differance.

Martin Dunst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 15039 posted 11:42 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

ruserious,

If you are writing a book (which has to be also a well structured document), you don't cram the whole book into one section, which is named the same as the book's title.

i think having one h1 per document is good.
two or more h1 elements would tell me that splitting the contents (to two or more documents) would maybe be a good idea.

besides, there is a quality tip at w3.org that advocates to use h1 for title [w3.org].

regards
martin

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