Are tables bad for SEO?

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Thirty-eighth Internet Marketing Podcast Nov. 6th 2009. Second page of Transcription

Chris: I don’t know. I thought of bringing – – if anybody’s got any kind of a pontification on why ah Yahoo closed geocities instead of actually spinning it off or trying to convert all of them to or whatever, 10% to paying customers,

Paul: ‘Cus they’re pushing their own hosting now aren’t they?

Chris: Yeah. Yeah.

Paul: Yahoo hosting? Like …

Chris: So why not roll it …

Paul: … what’s the difference?

Chris: … keep it together and roll it and then transition it slowly …

Paul: Yeah.

Chris: I don’t know it’s very strange. And again, 1.5 million hits, you know, there’s a lot of people out there who would love to have 1.5 million hits, okay lets …

Paul: Well I guess in the grand scheme of things they are like, “all right, whatever.”

Chris: Yeah.

Paul: “We get well I know we get …”

Chris: “Ten times …”

Paul: Yeah “we get ten times this on our other stuff we can afford to lose geocities.”

Chris: It just falls off the map yeah.

Paul: Yeah.

Chris: All right so let’s get, let’s hop right into, into Moe Serious’ lyrics here, uh we actually only got through the first two verses …

Paul: Yes.

Chris: … last time. So …

Paul: If you weren’t here last time, then you should have been.

Chris: Go back and listen to podcast number 7 or you can actually go back and watch podcast number 37 …

Paul: Yes.

Chris: … and you can watch that at USTREAM, ah we are going to have these podcasts available in video at USTREAM so you can watch them while, you know while you’re working while you’re …

Paul: There you go.

Chris: … at lunch break or something.

Paul: All right. Next verse. Design coding. (laughing) I don’t know. I don’t know. I was like um …

Chris: He’s having a breakdown.

Paul: I just drew a blank here for a second. All right.

Chris: Okay. The word is “move”.

Paul: “Move”. All right. Uh quoting from Moe Serious. He says, “Moving into production, please follow these instructions. Your Photoshop functions slice that design, do the layout with dibs, make sure there’s a line.”

Chris: Do you know what that means, “slice that design”?

Paul: No. I have no idea what that means.

Chris: No idea. Yeah, just ask Javier, he’s our graphic designer. You can ask him, he’ll tell you. Basically you make …

Paul: Javier! Oh he’s not here yet.

Chris: He’s not here yet. Basically take, you take an image, you create one complete image of what you want the website to look like and then you use what’s called slicing to slice it up so that you can address each image individually and turn images into buttons instead of having it be one image.

Paul: Oh, okay.

Chris: It’s pretty interesting.

Paul: I had no idea. I thought it was just like …

Chris: I’ve never done it …

Paul: … I thought it was just like saying, “slice it”. I’ll slice that design. All right. So your Photoshop functions, “you want to slice that design, do your layout with dibs, make sure there’s a line, please don’t use tables even though they work fine, when it comes to indexing they give searchers a hard time.” Ah, well what are dibs? I have no idea what dibs are.

Chris: Dibs. Dibs is like a division so you can actually hide divisions.

Paul: All right.

Chris: I thought that may you’ve seen someplace where you click something and the division opens up right on your website …

Paul: Okay.

Chris: … real quickly.

Paul: Okay, yeah.

Chris: Um, that’s got a couple advantages. It can be hidden, you don’t want to use it to hide text but it is also text that a search engine should see so uh it’s a way to incorporate kind of more text and make it available to the user if he wants to look at it. You can also hide images, um, it’s really crafty to use it in forms.

Paul: Okay.

Chris: Uh if you want to hide, you know say you just want to have a form that appears like you’re only, I’m giving a little secret here …

Paul: Okay.

Chris: … a form that appears like you only need their user name, you know their first name, last name and email address and then when they click the next button, boom, now they need …

Paul: Oh, what’s your last name?

Chris: … mother’s maiden name,

Paul: Like a blood sample please.

Chris: Blood sample, everything. So …

Paul: Okay, yeah, I’ve seen that.

Chris: … that’s what a dib does.

Paul: Okay so you need to make sure that using dibs and you need to make sure that there’s a line, uh, “don’t use tables even though they work fine, we’ve talked about that several times”, I mean, its rare that I see a website made with tables.

Chris: Actually it’s …

Paul: Or maybe I can’t see that table.

Chris: You actually see them all the time. Most of the time we do them here and it was actually this line that caused me to go back and do some research um and if you do some research on tables and SEO you actually find that there’s no, there’s actually no general consensus on whether tables are good or bad. They do have – – there are some drawbacks to them, um one of them is that some of the browsers will not show anything in a table until the whole table has loaded. Which kinda makes sense because the table has, you know rows and columns and everything and until the whole table is loaded the page doesn’t know how to display it. And you can see that if you go into Firefox. Firefox will show you everything it has immediately and then you know the whole page will be juxtapositioning around and formatting and getting all straightened out. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that happen before, Paul.

Paul: Mmm mm.

Chris: No. So um, so all of that will happen and um you know so it can be a little disconcerting to the customer. Uh to the visitor. Uh as far as SEO goes, I haven’t found anything conclusive that says tables are bad for SEO. So Moe, it’s a great rhyme.

Paul: It is, it is a great rhyme.

Chris: I called him “Moe”.

Paul: Yeah.

Chris: Well whether we’re going to keep calling him Moe Serious, Charles, Chuck, it is a great rhyme.

Paul: Okay. Now our next part of this verse. “Let’s make it easy for spiders to crawl where you provide, remove font type, font color and font size, no background colors keep your coding real neat and add your look – – and tag your look and feel on a separate style sheet. Better results with XMI and CSS now you’re making progress a little closer to success. Describe what doc type so the browser can relate and make sure you do it great or it won’t validate.” Ah, where do we begin. All right.

Chris: So, so, easy for spiders to crawl.

Paul: What do you provide.

Chris: Yeah.

Paul: Obviously everybody understands that.

Chris: In fact that’s one of the first things we do as an SEO company as soon as we get a website we want to make sure that you, you know, if you’re using all of your, all of your navigation and flash or if it’s a Javascript that we’re not 100% sure that the search engines will navigate, then we actually want to make, that’s the first step. Cus of the search engines can’t find your relevant information, if they can’t find your pages then, you know, what good is it?

Paul: And you don’t end up on the first page of Google.

Chris: Google. Yeah. Which we get paid to do so that’s our, that’s our first focus. Um,

Paul: So remove your font type, your font color and font size, no background color. No background colors. Keep your coding really neat.

Chris: Keep it, yeah, you just want a clean, easy look for your website, um and actually some of this stuff I’d like to give – – I was hoping Chuck, we were hoping he would be in here today, maybe he’s tuning into the video right now, hey Chuck, if you are, I know he was a little bit busy this morning, uh but I’d like to ask him some questions about these ‘cus, you know some of these um, you know, I’m comfortable using and maybe there’s just some other reasons that he would want so I’d like to get that input and like I said I don’t know everything about, about XMI uh and versus, I know CSS, cascade style sheets, uh but these are nuances that I didn’t, I don’t think really effect SEO per se, they’re probably more about visibility and usability so I’d like to get his input on that. Um of course validate is pretty important to make sure you do it great or it won’t validate ‘cus there’s, to validate your code there’s services out there you can actually go to Google and you can type in, you know, search engine validate and there’s lots of free services out there that will actually look at your website and make sure that it validates and by validates you want to make sure that you have your open and your close tags and everything in your HTML is done correctly so that the search engines will actually again visit your website.

Paul: I assume that like in validate, that’s kind of like, is that with like if you are building your own website? So if you’re, if you’re using a program, not like a, I mean if you’re using like a …

Chris: Notepad instead of …

Paul: Not like, I mean like an easy web design program. Would they have that function or is that more like a Photoshop?

Chris: So any, any reasonable web design program should be creating validation HTML code. Right?

Paul: Okay.

Author: eweb-admin