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Thread: Tables vs CSS

  1. #51
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golgotha

    Sure often times it means leaner code, always a good thing, but not typically a factor in SERP.
    I'm not a full time SEO guy, and ultimately trying to second guess what Google is reading into your content is akin to reading the future in chicken entrails, but.... if you take a 100k page, leave it's content identical, but make it 60k by cutting superfluous table code, inline decorative images, font tags and bgcolors (which is a quite typical result) the keyword density of that page has just gone up significantly. It's not trickery or spamming. It's just maths. Same content + smaller file = Higher% content. I can't imagine that isn't a factor to a search engine.

    Exactly the same principles that make a page easy for screen readers or PDAs to understand (so we're talking about accessiblity as much CSS-P) apply just as strongly for a Googlebot. They have to.
    Last edited by AlexW; Nov 2, 2003 at 20:39.
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  2. #52
    SitePoint Enthusiast tapdig's Avatar
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    If I buy FrontPage, does that make me a webmaster?

    If I buy a camera, does that make me a photographer?
    If I play football, does that make me a sportsjournalist?
    If I buy some golf clubs, does that make me a golfer?
    If I buy a gun, does that make me a criminal or a hunter?
    If I buy Windows, does that make me secure?
    If I read a book, does that make me a master?

  3. #53
    because you gotta have beer! firegryphon3207's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapdig
    If I buy FrontPage, does that make me a webmaster?
    It does if you use it to build and maintain a website.

    Does it make you a good webmaster? That's a different story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toly
    You'll have to adapt.
    eh, I'll slap in some ugly code and call it frontpage
    Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    tinyplanet.org <--a nifty spot.

  4. #54
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firegryphon3207
    eh, I'll slap in some ugly code and call it frontpage
    Community Guidelines | Community FAQ

    "He that is kind is free, though he is a slave;
    he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king." - St. Augustine

  5. #55
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexW
    Exactly the same principles that make a page easy for screen readers or PDAs to understand (so we're talking about accessiblity as much CSS-P) apply just as strongly for a Googlebot. They have to.
    Absolutely! Accessibility and SEO go hand in hand. It's good business sense AND it makes you feel all warm inside...

  6. #56
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toly
    What happens if clients start to demand designing pages in Front Page? Trying to force something just because it seems right is not the answer. Tables are still the standard and they won't go away.
    Oh, and coincidentally this is exactly what happened to me. An intranet job for Ford. The content editors had all had Front Page training and were using it day to day, so the intranet site had to be created in Front Page. Yuck!

  7. #57
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    heh when I first joined my current job people would send my html files to upload onto the site... they were either created using word or frontpage.

    After two days I explained that I would only accept plain text files, email or word doc (if I had to)

    And it worked
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  8. #58
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Well I work for an advertising agency and when the client says "jump", we say "how high?" Then while we're in the air flapping furiously, the client decides to adjust the height they originally asked us to jump to by a few feet. Then all hell breaks lose!

  9. #59
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah
    After two days I explained that I would only accept plain text files, email or word doc (if I had to)
    That's how we do it here. I'll even accept a hard copy, though I don't like to because of possible typos.

  10. #60
    runat="server" Golgotha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexW
    I'm not a full time SEO guy, and ultimately trying to second guess what Google is reading into your content is akin to reading the future in chicken entrails, but.... if you take a 100k page, leave it's content identical, but make it 60k by cutting superfluous table code, inline decorative images, font tags and bgcolors (which is a quite typical result) the keyword density of that page has just gone up significantly. It's not trickery or spamming. It's just maths. Same content + smaller file = Higher% content. I can't imagine that isn't a factor to a search engine.

    Exactly the same principles that make a page easy for screen readers or PDAs to understand (so we're talking about accessiblity as much CSS-P) apply just as strongly for a Googlebot. They have to.

    true Alex, but keep in mind most of what you mention, decorative images, font tags and bgcolors can be done with CSS and not have to be CSS-P.

    Also, IMO it won't likely help keyword density all that much. You are still likely to have your keywords in there the same amount of times whether you are using tables or divs. For example, if my keyword is 'website design' chances are I have it on the page 5 times no matter if it's surrounded by <td> or <div> and the spider tosses out all the <td> <div> stuff anyways.

    Again let me say that CSS-P over tables is often a better choice - the reasons have already been made clear. I just really don't think SEO is one of those reasons - or as Wayne put it just a kinda bonus.

  11. #61
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golgotha
    For example, if my keyword is 'website design' chances are I have it on the page 5 times no matter if it's surrounded by <td> or <div> and the spider tosses out all the <td> <div> stuff anyways.
    Is that true - about the spider tossing out the <div> and <td> stuff?

    I haven't heard that - I thought that working out your keyword density it took your <td> stuff into account - therefore by reducing the tables design to a CSS design and therefore reducing actual number of characters on the page your density increased...

    Is that not true...

    Not that it really matters but I thought that was a great plus point of css designs... hmm look like I was wrong
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  12. #62
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah
    Is that true - about the spider tossing out the <div> and <td> stuff?

    I haven't heard that - I thought that working out your keyword density it took your <td> stuff into account - therefore by reducing the tables design to a CSS design and therefore reducing actual number of characters on the page your density increased...

    Is that not true...

    Not that it really matters but I thought that was a great plus point of css designs... hmm look like I was wrong
    It's kind of true, although I don't think it has been explained fully. The keyword density is simply a signal:noise ratio. If you have a lot of crap code like font tags and spacer images, that's more noise for search engines to wade through. Golgotha's point was that smart coding will get you better SE rankings; said smart coding can be either in tables or divs though. If you use a basic table layout and don't nest deeply I don't think your SEO will be worse off than somebody with a good div layout. Clean coding is clean coding, whether you use tables for layout or not.

  13. #63
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    ok got you - the way I read it was more than it ignored the code - which I didn't think was true.... and yeah heavily nested tables vs css or light tables will have a huge impact - for the same reason

    Thanks Vinnie - only a mild panic on my part then
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  14. #64
    runat="server" Golgotha's Avatar
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    yeah, what vg said - I thought about going back and hitting that point but then thought it obvious.

    QUOTE>> Is that true - about the spider tossing out the <div> and <td> stuff?

    I am pretty sure it is - when you use those simulator spiders it doesn't count divs, tds, and all that other junk so why would a real spider? Plus, even if it doesn't it still doesn't matter because your keyword density is still a count of 5 for the word 'website design'.

    Like vg said, good SEO is more than just about tables vs CSS-P. SEO truly encompesses the entire design and development and nurturing of the webpage / website.

  15. #65
    runat="server" Golgotha's Avatar
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    just for the record too - we are talking CSS-P not CSS there is a big difference. A table designed layout site should still implement CSS.

  16. #66
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    yeah no I got that part - although I think I am going to test out the ignores div and td theory - its just I can't seem to find a definitive as they generally state 'complete source code' which basically can mean anything - its been a while since I worked out the density...

    Anyway didn't mean to take it off topic
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  17. #67
    SitePoint Enthusiast tapdig's Avatar
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    I see lots of CSS sites out there showing examples of 3-column layouts and left (or right) 2-column navigation. I study the CSS example sites. Good stuff. 3-column layouts are certainly the latest trend, everyone loves it. That's how I set up my blog...3-columns. I can nav on the left, body in middle and toss misc. on the right. Joy.

    If I want to display content in columns, wouldn't I use a tabulated data type of presentation? Like tables? Tables can do columns (and/or rows). So I use tables. There are a few things that CSS can do that tables can't. But I don't require that, currently.

  18. #68
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    I don't really like the 3-column layout, but it's necessary in some cases. I've had to do 2 of them this week alone. On one of them I did a table, and on another one I used the 3cols2 method Doug created. Why the difference? Well, the first layout (with the basic table) had a lot of content on all 3 columns, so a table really was the best use for that, or at least it will be until IE can do display: table-cell; on a <div>. The second one had a main center column, then a small menu on the left and decorative images on the right. The 3cols2 layout worked well in that instance, so I used that instead of a table. Use the right tools for the job, and yes sometimes there is still an okay use for layout tables.

  19. #69
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    well I have just had a quick trial of a keyword density package (http://www.keyworddensity.com/) and I ahveto say yes its right - they seem to ignore the div or td code... its a shame though that they don't explain some of there terms

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  20. #70
    runat="server" Golgotha's Avatar
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    you would be wise to listen to what the v~ man is really saying here. He's saying he uses the right tool for the job - not just the tool that's in style.

    This place reminds me of people buying stock - everyone hears that this is the stuff you want and so they quickly drop everything and buy it.

    While it's true that CSS-P is getting more playing time and tables is finding itself riding the pine more it doesn't mean that tables shouldn't get any playing time.

    Everything is just a tool - it's up to the craftsman to make something worth while with the tool.

  21. #71
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    well I do hear what you are saying dn infact I do follow that rule myself - as I have both CSS-P and table designs flying around. The only thing that I see is a must is ensuring that I don't use font tags but CSS, I also try and get it to validate (where possible) as that brings on the accessibility..
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  22. #72
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    My table page validates too, as XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

  23. #73
    Google Engineer polvero's Avatar
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    ...i keep seeing tables vs. css, and i just want to make sure that tables are still 'part of' css. they're used together with classes and such.
    a big arument i also see is tables vs div's. which perhaps makes more sense.
    mainly the whole point to creating css was to separate content from layout...yet, tables and div's are just two different "layout" options. What's the big deal? are tables old? i'm sure that's not the case. does SEO read better through <div>content</div> than <table><tr><td>content</td></tr></table>.
    I'd say perhaps yes maybe in the long run if you're using tables inside of tables inside of tables...but using a table for a general layout...you know...to get your giant 3 columns, then using <div> tags all up inside...that is perhaps the best solution.


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