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Web Standards and Search Engine Optimization — be seen.

Web Standards can be a long-term strategy for improving On-Page SEO Search Engine Optimization

Last updated: May 17, 2012

You have determined your Web marketing strategy, completed your SEO keyword research, and rewritten the content using your targeted keyphrases. Last but not least, your website maintenance service provider has implemented the content updates. Your site looks great and your content is relevant.

A few months have passed and your search engine rankings have improved somewhat but you want/expect better results. Is it time to start a pay per click campaign? Maybe. Maybe not. No matter what you decide, there is something else you can and should do. This consideration has to do with reviewing the way your website has been designed and produced (i.e. how the source code has been written) to define and render the design you see in your web browser. Because there are many approaches your web developer might have taken to produce your website you will want to review the source code for the following to ensure your website has been designed for optimal On-Page SEO results.

  1. Check for use of standards-based structural HTML
    Simply put, HTML tags should be used as intended for structuring HTML code. For example, page headers should be indicated as such by placing the header text in <h> tags, paragraphs should be wrapped in <p> tags, lists wrapped in <ul> and <ol> tags and so on. Sound simple? It is. Even so, standards-based structural markup is commonly disregarded out of ignorance. The essential point is that because the search engine indexing mechanisms easily spider standards-based, structural HTML, you should give them what they want whenever possible.
  2. Check for use of external Cascading Style Sheets
    Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the look and layout of your website. In other words, design the way the structural markup looks in a completely separate document (e.g. the <h> tag, mentioned above, can be styled to look almost any way you choose). Use CSS because it allows you to write structural HTML markup, without compromising your design vision and, most importantly, it allows you code your website for maximum SEO results.

Immediate SEO Benefits of Using Structural Markup and CSS

  • The combination of standards-based HTML and CSS generally result in much smaller HTML files so web pages load more quickly.
  • The structured code will also improve the search engines ability to effectively index web page content.
  • CSS-styled HTML elements used in place of images, particularly for page headers, will enable you to strategically use your keywords where they count the most.

Additional Peripheral Benefits of Using Structural Markup and CSS

  • You will have a website that is more easily and efficiently maintained.
  • Your website will most likely be forward compatible with emerging standards-compliant technology and web browsers.
  • You will be better positioned to implement and include style sheets to render your web design on other devices such as handhelds, cell phones, and printers.
  • If done properly, you will have a website with improved accessibility — which means access for more users and more devices including assistive devices, cell phones, handhelds, etc.

There are, of course, many more considerations which set the stage for successful SEO campaigns — but fundamentally improving source code by using a standards-based approach is one of the most important steps you can take to improve the success of your SEO campaigns over the long term. For more information see best practices producing search engine friendly website.

The Next Step

See how Collaborint can continuously improve your website with our retainer style Website Maintenance Services.

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