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H1 and CSS

Why is Googlebot being fooled?

     
6:33 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Some high ranking sites at the moment seem to be still using CSS to hide their H1 tags, plus alot of other little horrors.

Basically with the help of style sheets you can present one site to Googlebot and a totally different one to surfers.

Will Google address this "art form"?

7:26 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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As long as Google gives no additional weight to text in H1 elements, I don't see why this is a problem.
7:52 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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CSS is supposed to be used to style H1 tags. That's why they're called Cascading Style Sheets, that's their intended use.

If you aren't using style sheets to style your paragraphs, lists, and h1 tags then you are missing the point of stylesheets.

:) Y

p.s. Even Google styles their h1 tags. Nothing wrong with doing it.

If you are talking about "hiding" as in making them disappear altogether, that's a different matter.

9:40 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I too find it odd that people here always seem to comment on the fact that webmasters use css to resize or colour H1 tags.

There have been many discussions on the subject and in my opinion it definitely isn't spam.

It serves a use for accessibility and even helps little googlebot find the start of your "real" content.

Why the paranoia?

9:59 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Who uses <H1> other than people who still think it's 1998 or SEO practitioners?
10:01 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Who uses <H1> other than people who still think it's 1998 or SEO practitioners?

People who design with standards in mind!

10:05 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<removed rubbish post>

[edited by: mcavill at 10:30 pm (utc) on Dec. 11, 2003]

10:06 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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People who design with standards in mind!

Bada-boom! Bada-bing!

Thank you folks for coming out to the H1 CSS Discussion show! You've been a great audience!

Be sure to join us next week when we do it all over again. Have a good night!

10:12 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think that using css to resize tags is a questionable action.

If I were to have some long paragraph describing "questionable widgets" where "questionable widgets" was placed in h1 tags then resized to match the rest of the paragraph using css; thats concealing what is really present.(cloaking if you will)

10:15 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Who uses <H1> other than people who still think it's 1998 or SEO practitioners?

I use 1 <h1>, couple of <h2>, and a few <h3> and <h4> if possible. A few <p> and </p> and some <a href>. That's it. No size, color, text font formatting. Because I am lazy. In my newest site, I have even removed css files. Striving to manage the most primitive websites. :-)

10:18 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Never mind.
10:29 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Who uses <H1> other than people who still think it's 1998 or SEO practitioners?

What?

It's the title of the document!

How on earth are you supposed to write a page without using <h1> tags? Use some sort of script to tell the browser that some other tag represents the primary document heading? Please...

10:57 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If I were to have some long paragraph describing "questionable widgets" where "questionable widgets" was placed in h1 tags then resized to match the rest of the paragraph using css; thats concealing what is really present.(cloaking if you will)

Future (and present in one case) search engines aren't looking for WORDS, they are looking for PHRASES and how the words are used in context of the surrounding text.

Design your page with an H1 embedded in a paragraph and I bet you won't get a better ranking than you would had you placed it as a header describing the following paragraph like it's supposed to be.

GOLDEN RULE OF SEO:
Don't design your pages for a computer. Design your pages for humans who will read them.

11:15 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ronin, is the document title not the <title>?

Not sure I get it with this H1 business. Seems to me that 99% of the H1s I see are modified with CSS. In other words, 99% of the H1s I see are there for SEO reasons, rather than for the user.

Why not just use any old CSS text, rather than an H1? How does the browser benefit from finding an H1?

11:29 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"questionable widgets" is a phrase.

The point is not the ranking but the intention behind the usage of H tags and CSS. ciml's post above covers that.

If the golden rule of SEO is to design for humans then why is it called Search Engine Optimization?

11:52 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Does W3C mean anything to anyone else here?
12:05 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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sounds like a consortium or something? LMAO

Folks - NOTHING wrong with using Heading tags and furthermore theres NOTHING wrong with formatting them the "correct-preferred" way - using CSS!

12:13 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...intention behind the usage of H tags and CSS

Actually I think Krapulator's post #6 covers intentions of using H1 the best. Using header tags is a standard for webpage design as noted by the W3C [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.

Now with today's website you need to be able to integrate a heading into the look and feel of the site. That's where CSS comes into play.

If you choose to place an H1 illogically in the middle of a paragraph then you just defeated the true purpose of the H1 tag. That's obviously designing a page for a computer rather than a human.

The spiders are getting smarter. SEO techniques that worked 4 years ago don't work anymore. Heck I would even go so far as to say that techniques that worked a month ago don't work anymore!

EDIT: Look's like ChrisD beat me to the W3C :)

12:16 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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martinibuster, you made me snicker so hard I blew my candle out... literally...

thanks, I can now die in peace!

SN

12:54 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cascading Style Sheets were created to separate form from function.

You use h1 for headings. This is valid W3C MarkUp and is good for accessibility (think of a blind person using a reader, which would say aloud "Heading: My Widgets Page". That is function.

That does not mean you have to accept the ugly huge default text. So you use css to make headings consistent with the overall style of your site. That is form.

1:03 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Great example. Perspective is everything.
2:29 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think one has to keep in mind the type of people that write the w3c standards and the folk that study and compile algo's for document retrieval - They're boffins that write lengthy studies and such-like and were taught to organise their documents in an orderly and predictable fashion so that others can navigate them.

Title, headings, sub-headings, paragraphs etc... all have semantic meaning and give a document (and the reader a sense of) structure.

It follows that any archival and retrieval system (and human), will categorise/index/search using the defined semantic tools available... it just makes sense!

As others have said, CSS is merely a way to format the tag and thus overcome the normal (abysmal) html rendering the <hx> tag affords.

Like anything in life, it can be abused.

2:35 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If the golden rule of SEO is to design for humans then why is it called Search Engine Optimization?

Because most SEO companies have built their entire business on lies and scare tactics!

Even Googles guidelines state;

Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users, or present different content to search engines than you display to users.

I bolded the different content to show that Google *probably* does not care about CSS and H1 tags.

2:56 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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martinibuster's right; that's H1 & CSS in Google covered for another week