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AV loves H1 and is said to love the 1st paragraph following H1 as well. So it is important to have H1 on the page. But lots of the most modern sites lack that logical structure, because the web designers wanted a specific look for the page. This makes the page spider hostile.
Changing the size and font of H1 (and H2 too) in a css file (or in Java Script) to whatever look and feel the designers want is a great idea. AV finds the structure they are looking for and designers get the look they want, so everybody is happy.
For the ease of site maintenance, easy redesign etc. don't mix stylesheets with page specific tags - if you update your site regularly it will be hell, trust me on that and start using only css on new sites :)
You'll get used to it much faster than you think, and when you see the power of changing the size of H1 on just one page, and "vupti" - it all looks beautifull :)
A very good css editor - I'd say the best ! - is TopStyle from [bradsoft.com...] - no commissions ;) Free trial download / shareware.
This is a point I'm considering right now, because I'm doing minor revisions on a site prior to moving it from a subdomain to a domain on a better server. It's got product pages, so the line spacing is an important issue. (using css isn't practical at the moment, but will be an option after the move)
Just back from IMS2000 in Stockholm, the advise is to use <font size=+X><B> instead of H, SE's keep emphasis on font size + and Bold, while H tags seems to change in boost factor. I'm afraid H tags will "disappear" as a boost factor, because of style sheets, which none of the SE's read. Other tags to use are <em> and <i>
because of the hidden nature of css and the possibilities of changing the meaning of tags
css will be the ideal tool for spammers (invisible text etc.) It's a shame, css's are great for site maintenance, but your optimized pages should be without css.
In her main speech, she said that frames were death. That is plainly bull**** I have framed sites ranking #1 on major engines. One of the other moderators here has a framed site that occupies the entire first page of a major engine for a highly targeted keyword.
One strong argument why she is wrong is that corporate sites make extensive use of style sheets. If they were in any way penalized, SE:s would undermine the very foundations of their earnings. There is no shortage of hyped up self proclaimed gurus in this world, and I think we may just have waisted an hour listening to one. If they can't come up with facts and figures when challenged, they have no credibility. My advise: pay no attention.
About the <font> vs. <H> I'm quite confused, I think there has to be done some serious research, ideally with results published at this and other forums for comparison.
The css issue is a serious thread to webdesigners, I know that SE's has got more refined searches and algos but with the ability to write invisible text and other spamming methods I'm afraid SE's will need to take action to stop it.
Thats not something anybody said, thats something I worry about personaly.
You're right about that banning sites using stylesheets means banning just about every major corporate site listet, so thats hardly a soloution for the SE's to use.
BTW Rencke Thanks for your very informative articles on the news from IMS2000, and nice to meet you too ;)
I agree absolutely, 100,00%. SEO is a science, not a religion. You have every right to be confused when a high profile person makes statements like that without being able to substantitate them or demonstrate the effect.
Remember though that the speaker in question is a design specialist, running a design company. If everybody chucks out their style sheets and start marking up pages in the way recommended, there will be a lot of jobs for design people. There could be self interest at play here.