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Implications of CSS Layouts on SEO?

     
11:15 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm begining to create websites using CSS for layouts and was wondering what the implications were regarding seo.

How do the search engines view CSS pages (laid out using CSS as oppossed to tables)? Do they just view the content and ignore the stylesheet? Probably not - as its all too easy to turn divs (hence content) off - effectively hiding them.

I think that this can also be done by setting margins to minus values or changing the height of divs to 0.

I've seen some sites use minus values to change the navigation buttons on mouseover - but would search engines view this as a form of cloaking?

Or are search engines so advanced that they will spend time analysing each page to determine which elements do and do not appear, what text will show against the background, which divs appear over which other ones, etc?

And if they do go through all this, what browsers do they check things against (bearing in mind some CSS layouts will work in some pages but not others)?

Could it be that search engines will take the lowest common denominator and compare your site against some ancient browser and - if it fails for this browser - would not rank your site highly?

Does each search engine do things differently?

I welcome any thoughts on the issue!

[edited by: TravelSite at 11:16 am (utc) on Feb. 22, 2007]

12:00 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The best SEO practices suggest any CSS/JavaScript used on the website should be an externally linked file.
The goal is to have a clean code and less of clutter in terms of CSS/JavaScript tags rendering on the page. By linking the CSS codes to an external file, you are ruling out the chance of search engine bots “stopper” in your code and ensuring that rest of the page is coded and validated well for HTML errors. I am not saying this is the ONLY factor which works with bots, but it is one of the critical SEO Checklist for a webmaster to perform before going live.
9:24 am on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the info rankfirst, and welcome to Webmasterworld!
6:49 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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" The best SEO practices suggest any CSS/JavaScript used on the website should be an externally linked file."

I am totally agree with this view as if we use javascript or CSS on pages its not good from crawling point of view

9:09 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi, New user here

" The best SEO practices suggest any CSS/JavaScript used on the website should be an externally linked file."

You should do this as "good practice" when creating a website. It will be more maintainable and follow the MVC model.

9:31 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Search engines are disabled users. They do not accept cookies, type, hover, or see graphics. Their JavaScript is always turned off and they don't have flash installed.

By creating an accessible site, you are enabling search engines to crawl your site.

By creating an accessible site, you are increasing your potential audience base.

By not using tables for layout, that is one step towards an accessible site.

[diveintoaccessibility.org...]

There are color filters to help you see how a color blind person sees your site.
[colorfilter.wickline.org...]

There is Lynx to help you see how search engines see your site.
[lynx.browser.org...]
[delorie.com...]

12:21 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"I've seen some sites use minus values to change the navigation buttons on mouseover - but would search engines view this as a form of cloaking?"

Try some of the navigation examples from: [css.maxdesign.com.au...]

5:22 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi I need to be able to see how the search engines view sites without the style sheets.

Can anybody can recomend a tool?

These are potential client sites so I cant set-up files to use the above tool.

12:33 pm on Mar 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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pazang, you can use the Web Developer extension on Firefox to disable CSS, Javascript and a variety of other things.
2:25 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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CSS can help your site read correctly and span correctly for all types of visitors. You can use more text and less images while still providing great design. As a user above mentioned its helpful to look at how text only browsers see your site, however I recommend using SEO-Browser.com as it doesn't require any downloading or uploading to function.
 

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