Its been a while since I’ve last posted here but today inspired by Jessica Lee’s SEO Bucket list, I feel like expanding the topic of building great and clean websites with w3c valid html and CSS, in my opinion always the first step towards search engine optimization.
A website may look beautiful and healthy to the naked eye but cluttered with useless coding and confusing to the search engines. We’ve seen sites with more then 8 BODY and HTML start and end tags on the home page and other clutter almost guaranteed to stop the search engines from spidering the rest of the site.
Clean HTML, besides speeding up the load time, a very important factor in the Google algorithm it also makes it easier on the spiders to run through a website without getting stuck halfway in.
Step 1) – Externalize
Necessary coding that is needed for the site to function can most of the time be externalized:
- Get classic with stylesheets; table styles, height and weight attributes, font sizes, colors and background images should to be in css files and defined by class names
- Content that are duplicated from page to page when absolutely necessary can and should be published via iFrames, the search engines wont read them but the users still can
Step 2) – Clean Up
- Remove empty and useless tags like <td></td> sometimes left behind by HTML editors
- Remove whitespace left between your coding, this will reduce file size and speed up loading time
- Remove unnecessary META tags that don’t serve any real purpose, get your real content and keywords as close to the top as possible
Step 3) – Speed Up
Other important factors to speed up the page:
- Define table and images height and width, that way the browser can load the text before the images, putting everything in place already knowing where everything belongs
- Optimize your images to reduce their size, try the more heavier images in different formats and compare file size to image quality
- Avoid nested HTML tables, putting one table in another just gives the browser a hard time to work out layouts and spacing
Bottom Line: Slice and dice until the W3 validator gives you a thumbs up, use a tool like SEO Browser to preview the source as Google would, check the speed and loading time, choose the right DOCTYPE tag, you will be surprised how messy things get if you get that single tag wrong, make sure the page header response code is 200.
Now you may be on the right path towards great Search Engine Optimization.