Web Standards Compliant Markup for Better SEO
Once the SEO Copywriting of your site's content is complete, we'll recode your web pages so that the search engines better understand the relevance of your site's content for optimal indexing potential.
Sometimes referred to as "clean coding", web standard markup (HTML, or HyperText Markup Language) will amplify the effects of properly written copyrighting on search engine visibility. Visually, the pages of your web site will remain unchanged, however the source code will be completely rewritten according to web standards, for better search engine optimization.
Our SEO Services include all web standard practices that benefit search engine readiness - for today and for the future. Namely:
1. Structural, not presentational, HTML
Future Proof Clean Code for Long Term Web Presence
One of the most fundamental W3C Web Standard recommendations is the separation of structured and presentational data in documents for the web. Your web page's structure consists of semantically appropriate HTML elements that are embedded with text, images, and other mandatory data. The presentational data, which includes all visual content such as page layout, borders, fonts, colours, and backgrounds must be kept in a separate file which is encoded with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
Semantically sound, strict web standards compliant mark up has profound, long term, positive effects on search engine optimization results.
A few examples of the benefits gained by separating structured and presentational data:
- Accessibility to wider range of viewers and user agents
- Higher search engine results
- Faster loading pages
- Site wide visual consistency for usibility and branding
- More efficient and less expensive site redesigns
- Printer friendly pages
- Future-proof internet documents
In the late 1990s, when the internet was still primarily a medium to share textual information amongst academics and the military, browser support of CSS was poor. Designers, seeking ways to control page layout, began misusing borderless HTML tables in order to create invisible grids for the visual presentation of web pages.
Tables were never meant to be used for layout. Yet, because of a steeper learning curve, most web professionals refuse to learn to mark up even basic designs properly with semantic HTML and CSS positioning.
Some of the reasons tables should never be used for layout
- They embed loads of presentational data into each page of your site
- Larger file sizes
- Higher ratio of presentational data to content
- Expensive and labour intensive site redesigns
- Difficulty in retaining visual consistency for site developement
- Less accessible pages to humans, user devices, and search engines
Today's web browsers support the CSS specs well enough that there is no reason for the use of presentational markup exemplified by the bloated, nested, table soup that is still seen today.
2. Semantic HTML
HTML that helps the search engines better understand your content
Semantics are the very essence of HTML structure. While many web developers consider only the visual effect of a webpage, they fail to keep in mind that the search engine robots rely on the source code of the page for a better understanding of the content for indexing. Two pages could have the same content and be visually identical, with search engines having very different views on weighing the relavancy and importance of each document.
Semantically appropriate HTML elements should always be considered before choosing generic or unsuitable tags. The infamous use of tables for layout is yet again web standards enemy number one. Aside from the misuse of HTML tables creating presentational markup, semantically, tables are meant only for rendering tabular data such as spreadsheets, or any other data that belongs in a grid.
The type of content at hand should always be considered when choosing semantically appropriate html elements in order to lend meaning to datatypes such as:
- Headings/sub headings
- Ordered/unordered/definition lists
- Emphasized/strongly emphasized text
- Tabular data
- Hcards (HTML Vcards, or Electronic Business Cards)
Generic elements such as divs and spans should only be used when there exist no other semantically suitable tags for content, such as dividing sections for CSS positioning, in the case of page layout.
3. Strict HTML Validation
Checking the syntax of your site's source code
Ensuring that a webpage's HTML is free of syntax errors is one way to prevent coding problems from impeding proper search engine indexing. The source code of any web page may be easily checked for syntax errors with the W3C's online HTML and CSS Validators. If an HTML document is written according to web standard specifications, it will pass validation, otherwise it will fail, with errors displayed by the validator.
Online validation tools are available for both HTML and CSS, however, from an SEO standpoint we're concerned only with HTML validation, as poorly written HTML can potentialy have a negative effect on a web page's ability to be crawled by search engine robots.
For an HTML document to pass validation, it must conform to the basic mark up rules of the particular standards that the document is written for.
How HTML validation works
The doctype - the first line of parsable code in any web standard document, declares to browsers and validation tools which standards have been chosen to publish for.