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CSS and Table based designing for SEO

Does CSS really helps SEO?

     
4:39 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is CSS and HTML or XHTML sites with a tables-less design helps to boost SEO results? Is that really true? I see many sites with full of tables and nested tables are ranked high and doing well with search results?
Loading time is important, however why do we say Table-less sites as clean coded? Is that just because of w3c recommendations?
If CSS is the best way to code, then Why editors like Dreamweaver allows table based designing? Some one can help understanding it better? Thanks in advance.
4:44 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One advantage to table free design can be semantic. When you use tables for layout, groups of text on the page that are actually related visually and in meaning can end up widely separated in the html.

So especially for long tail searches, the search engine algorithm stands a better chance of knowing which words are actually related to each other. Sometimes this can affect very important words, such as product names and their descriptions!

6:16 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This makes sense Very much. Many thanks Tedster.
8:27 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Regardless of whether you use tables or CSS or a combination, I've found that a site structured with less code and more content will perform better in search engines. In particular, constructing a site where the main content is presented higher up in the HTML works very well.
4:27 am on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The other advantage is that you can more easily move content above the navigation template in your code.

I have had pages earn a ten point jump based on conversion to CSS.

4:47 am on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Faster-loading pages make a better user experience, and over time that will improve your chances of gaining organic links.

That would be an indirect SEO benefit from CSS, and it would take time to have an effect, but every bit helps.

3:00 am on Sept 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I can't be sure because it's top secret...but I've always suspected page loading time to be a factor.
11:50 pm on Sept 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Page loading times influencing SEO? Perhaps a negative for pages that have sub-par acceptable loading times. However, I doubt that there is any SEO boost for quick loads. There are too many factors outside the control of website administrators that can affect load speed. Were I a search engine decision maker I would be loathe to reward or penalize based on load time except in extreme negative circumstances.

Of course I could be extremely negatively wrong.

3:57 am on Sept 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Page loading times influencing SEO?

I don't think page loading times directly influence rankings. It's widely felt, though, that there's a correlation between the time Googlebot will spend on a site and PageRank, and you might argue therefore that anything that affects crawl speed will affect the number of pages crawled, and this could affect rankings.

While crawl time is not necessarily the same as loading time, there's also likely to be a correlation. But I don't think there's an explicit loading time factor in the algo.