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css vs tables for search engines

css tables seo

   
11:51 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)



Good morning,

I know html from several years ago when I used to build websites and have recently got back into it because I have a site I would like to build.

My priorities for the design are to build it in accordance with the following priorities:

1. Must be a design that maximises the chance of being found by the search engines.

2. Must be optimised for minimum execution times. (It will use mysql and php which I'm learning)

I've read a lot but would be grateful if I could ask your opinions.

1. Is css better for my requirements ?

2. If so is there any type of css design that's better than an other.


Many thanks :-)
5:29 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



1. Must be a design that maximises the chance of being found by the search engines.


This has nothing to do with how you lay out a document. It has to do with content.

2. Must be optimised for minimum execution times. (It will use mysql and php which I'm learning)


The main argument against tabled layout in this respect is that browsers need to render the entire table before they can figure out where to render elements. Non- tabled layouts can execute in linear fashion so it renders faster, though I'll say, in my experience, this is negligible.

In respect to your content, using a non-tabled layout better describes your content, and is an issue that does indeed better supply that content to search engines but also affects accessibility. That is, a <p> means it's a paragraph, an <h1> means it's a heading, this gives context to the search engines. This

<p> I am content</p>

Is much more descriptive of the content than this.

I am content <br><br>

A table is for tabular data, as in a spreadsheet, so it skews the semantics a bit.

In terms of accessibility, when you read a page with a screen reader it's also confusing, it will read the table cells expecting tabular data. Often, tabled layout is accompanied by may other abuses, and the overall effect is that it makes your page less effective.

But in terms of "being found", no real difference, it is not about the layout.
12:49 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



To which I'll add the explanation that the search engines understand tags and attributes. When you search for words like "table" or "class" or some commonly used CSS class or ID name, the search results lead with pages which contain those words as content. If the search engines indexed tags and attributes, those search results would be seriously skewed.

Edward
6:53 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)



Brills, thanks for the advice guys.

I've got a lot better understanding now. Cheers :-)