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  1. #101
    SitePoint Zealot moagw's Avatar
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    Hey guys/gals.. I just got wind of this article that might ease some people's pains with IE CSS weirdness..
    http://www.virtuelvis.com/archives/158.html
    Conditional Comments that control if a stylesheet would be applied or not.

  2. #102
    SitePoint Addict xDev's Avatar
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    That method can be used effectively but there's a major drawback. If your pages aren't dynamic then you would have to insert it at the top of every page in your site, manually. An advantage of the method is that you can serve ie anything you want inside the comments; css, javascript, JScript, VBScript, ie proprietary css, html or anything you would like only ie to get.

  3. #103
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    CSS being cleaner isn't the reason you use it. You use CSS to separate your design from your content. That's the most significant advantage you have.

    Using CSS allows you to make changes to your design and not affect the actual content. This lets you apply a different CSS Stylesheet to your XHTML and provide your users with a different interface... this comes in handy a lot when creating sites for multiple devices.

    As well, search engines only see pure HTML, without the design crap, and allows them toindex your site much more efficiently, and will provide you with higher search rankings!

  4. #104
    SitePoint Addict Huscy's Avatar
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    will provide you with higher search rankings!
    do you have ANY proof of that??

  5. #105
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgoddard
    As well, search engines only see pure HTML, without the design crap, and allows them toindex your site much more efficiently, and will provide you with higher search rankings!
    I expect the difference it makes in that respect is marginal, if different at all, but feel free to show me different.

  6. #106
    SitePoint Addict xDev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtresidder
    I expect the difference it makes in that respect is marginal, if different at all, but feel free to show me different.
    With CSS its easy to position your content before, say, your menu bar. If you have the meat of the content, so to speak, at the top of the page in the html then you can have a higher relevance in the eyes of the bots. Another site targetting the same keywords, and having been created with nested table-tag soup, will, in theory, receive a lower rank simply because the bot would need to plow through unnecessary garbage and the actual content would be way down somewhere in the middle instead of up top where you can receive a higher rank.

    Having semantically relevant html will also achieve better results. Instead of:

    Code:
    <font size="6" color="#000000" face="Times, serif">This 
    is my big fat header!</font>
    Use CSS to style an h1:
    Code:
    <h1>This 
    is my big fat header!</h1>
    The bots will love your page for it! Also, using lists where appropriate would be much better in the eyes of the bots than say a bunch of text separated by br's. These things are not theory, and using CSS to its full potential is definitely not antithetical to a higher ranking page. On the contrary, quite the opposite. SEO gurus far and wide have now become advocates of standards design simply because clean and semantic markup inherently has the added advantage of search engine optimization.

  7. #107
    &#083;itePoint Aficionado JVLB's Avatar
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    Cleaner? Why, much. Since implementing new, improved CSS with pixel whitening, I've reduced my pixel laundry by 40%!

  8. #108
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    xDev: Don't get me wrong, I understood how all those things would help in theory, all I'm saying is that I don't think it would make as much difference as people would have us believe. I just think there are more important things for search engines to worry about, and judging by the fact that they work quite well I'd say they probably do give emphasis to the important things. After all, there's no reason why information from a non CSS literate author is any less valid to a searcher than that from a CSS literate author (excepting that subject itself, of course.)

    Whack 'SEO' into google and have a look at the top few sites. These are the people who, by virtue of being at the top of the search engines for that term, have demonstrated they can do what they're selling. The source code is not like you'd expect to see if you believed the CSS-is-a-SEO-wonderdrug hype, just a few simple tricks along those same lines (external javscript etc).

    That's not to say we shouldn't use it, or that it's not better than 'old' design, just that I can't see that it's all it's made out to be.

  9. #109
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtresidder
    xDev: Don't get me wrong, I understood how all those things would help in theory, all I'm saying is that I don't think it would make as much difference as people would have us believe. I just think there are more important things for search engines to worry about, and judging by the fact that they work quite well I'd say they probably do give emphasis to the important things. After all, there's no reason why information from a non CSS literate author is any less valid to a searcher than that from a CSS literate author (excepting that subject itself, of course.)

    Whack 'SEO' into google and have a look at the top few sites. These are the people who, by virtue of being at the top of the search engines for that term, have demonstrated they can do what they're selling. The source code is not like you'd expect to see if you believed the CSS-is-a-SEO-wonderdrug hype, just a few simple tricks along those same lines (external javscript etc).

    That's not to say we shouldn't use it, or that it's not better than 'old' design, just that I can't see that it's all it's made out to be.
    Think about the original definitions for the HTML elements:
    H1: typically used as a page title. Misused by SEO'ers once in a while for better keyword rankings.
    strong and em: convey emphasis on a particular word or phrase. Obviously if you're conveying more emphasis on a particular word you want it noticed right? Words wrapped in strong and em may help in search engines for that reason.
    links (and the title attribute): link text is supposed to be important and relevant to what you're linking to. The title attribute adds a longer description of what you're linking to (but it's optional). This is why search engines go crazy over them when done properly.

    As for CSS helping out SEO, not really. Trimming down your HTML should help with SEO however. It's rumored (I can't say for sure on this) that some search engines can only index the first 100k or so of a page. If your page as tag soup/inline styles/inline script was over 100k then there's some content that won't be included in search engine results. Moving all that out to external files can help bring you under (or closer to under) 100k. If you're using CSS for layout and have a content-heavy page, then yes maybe moving a menu down to the bottom in source code order can help you get a few more keywords in there. Whether you want to go the semantic/structural markup route is probably less relevant to search engines than page size and certain elements in HTML like those I mentioned above.

    Off Topic:

    This is not to say that you should only design for SEO. Personally I think some people over-SEO and then a regular visitor can't even read the copy with any sort of ease because it's so keyword-stuffed, but to each his/her own .

  10. #110
    SitePoint Addict xDev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtresidder
    Whack 'SEO' into google and have a look at the top few sites. These are the people who, by virtue of being at the top of the search engines for that term, have demonstrated they can do what they're selling. The source code is not like you'd expect to see if you believed the CSS-is-a-SEO-wonderdrug hype, just a few simple tricks along those same lines (external javscript etc).
    Alot of them sites are at the top by virtue of how many links are pointing to them and how long they've been in the rankings. A site devoted to SEO for the last 3 years will have a leg up on competition.

    Actually a more appropriate search would be "search engine optimization", however the results would still be the same. You are correct, they're all table tag soup. That will change, though. Give it a few years and the top rankers for SEO related sites will all be clean semantic websites.

    Their competitors, say those on the second page results, could gain in the rankings if they hired someone with both skills: SEO and standards design. I could totally overhaul the entire site and use strict standards design along with traditional methods. I would gladly take on this task and add certain guarantees for success with money's refundable if results are not forthcoming within 3 to 6 months.

  11. #111
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xDev
    Alot of them sites are at the top by virtue of how many links are pointing to them and how long they've been in the rankings. A site devoted to SEO for the last 3 years will have a leg up on competition.
    My point exactly.
    Quote Originally Posted by xDev
    Actually a more appropriate search would be "search engine optimization", however the results would still be the same.
    That's not strictly true. If I were to pick a company, I'd use acronym because I would want someone who is aiming for customers who know what it means. Anyhow, back on-topic...
    Quote Originally Posted by xDev
    You are correct, they're all table tag soup. That will change, though. Give it a few years and the top rankers for SEO related sites will all be clean semantic websites.
    Predictions are subjective. We'll have to agree to disagree on that point, I wouldn't venture a guess at who will be king of the castle in the future.
    Quote Originally Posted by xDev
    Their competitors, say those on the second page results, could gain in the rankings if they hired someone with both skills: SEO and standards design.
    That's assuming all other variables remain the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by xDev
    I could totally overhaul the entire site and use strict standards design along with traditional methods. I would gladly take on this task and add certain guarantees for success with money's refundable if results are not forthcoming within 3 to 6 months.
    Fair enough. I'd not risk other factors undermining the value of my optimisations, but different strokes and all that...

  12. #112
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    H1: typically used as a page title. Misused by SEO'ers once in a while for better keyword rankings.
    There's another consideration I hadn't thought of until now, the penalisation for abuse of emphasis. A while back meta-tags were arguably the be-all and end-all of SEO. They're not even worth the time it takes to type them now, there's no guarantee that anything that works now won't go the same way. The better the search engines are at using the rest of the page, the better the end result. I have to admit it doesn't look like they've got that quite sussed yet though...
    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    It's rumored (I can't say for sure on this) that some search engines can only index the first 100k or so of a page.
    I thought that one was gospel around meta-tag time and useless now, but who knows?
    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    This is not to say that you should only design for SEO. Personally I think some people over-SEO and then a regular visitor can't even read the copy with any sort of ease because it's so keyword-stuffed, but to each his/her own .
    Indeed! ...and nothing annoys me more than searching for a phrase to end up on a page that is nothing more than an affiliated search for the same damn thing!

    While we're OT, nice post count!

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtresidder
    I expect the difference it makes in that respect is marginal, if different at all, but feel free to show me different.
    Just think about it for a second... google indexes your html code... if that is full of color=#453dd and valign="top" and all those other html attributes that have nothing to do with your content.... and you can replace it all with your actual content that google uses... what do you think will work better... I'm not saying it will grant you number 1 rankings automatically... but it will help your rankings, and it will make it easier for google, yahoo etc to index your site.

    Do some reading on the Internet about SEO, and you'll see that google keeps a set number of characters of your page when indexing it. If you can get rid of those non-content related words and characters, and fit more of your keywords, and actual content google/yahoo/whoever will be able to get a better idea of what your site is about and grant you higher search rankings....

    It's not the fact that you're using CSS that helps your rankings, its that you can fit more content-related keywords and search terms in your html, and google won't have to sort through all your html tags that don't relate to the content of your site.

  14. #114
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgoddard
    Just think about it for a second... google indexes your html code... if that is full of color=#453dd and valign="top" and all those other html attributes that have nothing to do with your content.... and you can replace it all with your actual content that google uses... what do you think will work better... I'm not saying it will grant you number 1 rankings automatically... but it will help your rankings, and it will make it easier for google, yahoo etc to index your site.

    Do some reading on the Internet about SEO, and you'll see that google keeps a set number of characters of your page when indexing it. If you can get rid of those non-content related words and characters, and fit more of your keywords, and actual content google/yahoo/whoever will be able to get a better idea of what your site is about and grant you higher search rankings....

    It's not the fact that you're using CSS that helps your rankings, its that you can fit more content-related keywords and search terms in your html, and google won't have to sort through all your html tags that don't relate to the content of your site.
    Google keeps up to 101k (no need to look it up), but that is for the cached file. The keyword algorithm doesn't have to be limited to that cached file, it could easily be generated beforehand. I can't see any reason to believe that Google wouldn't figure that out. Besides that, if your page itself is that large, I'd say you have more problems than lack of CSS.

    Edit: I've found contradictory reports on the cache size now. Some say that 101k is the size of the portion of the page that is indexed, as you say; others that 101k is the size of the cache and that all of the page is indexed. If Google does only index the first 101k though, that's still not going to affect the majority of pages.

  15. #115
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    the best idea is to mix them up -- using both tables and CSS whenever it's worth doing so.

  16. #116
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zjcboy
    the best idea is to mix them up -- using both tables and CSS whenever it's worth doing so.
    also known as a hybrid/transitional design. still quite acceptable, using a single clean table to hold the thing together and do the rest with css. as long as there's no heavily nested table sets, and you still add relevant ID/class information to the TDs, it's easy enough to later transition to a full-blown css solution if the need arises.
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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  17. #117
    SitePoint Evangelist sputza's Avatar
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    I have been using CSS since it first come out. Sure it has lots of browser problems but there are ways around almost every problem you could run into.

    For a small 5 page web site CSS isn't needed. However, it can make things easy to update. When a site is larger CSS is almost a must.

    I dont know about you... but I don't want to spend double the time coding if I dont have to. Remember, time is money.
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  18. #118
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputza
    For a small 5 page web site CSS isn't needed.
    Please explain...

  19. #119
    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
    Paul O'B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputza
    but I don't want to spend double the time coding
    Learn to code properly then

    People keep saying CSS takes longer to code but it isn't really justified. CSS layouts take me half the time that a table layout does. I'll agree that those beginning with css or only a partial understanding of what they are doing may find it takes them longer.

    It's a skill that needs to be learned and understood and then taken advantage of.

    Paul

  20. #120
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul O'B
    Learn to code properly then

    People keep saying CSS takes longer to code but it isn't really justified. CSS layouts take me half the time that a table layout does. I'll agree that those beginning with css or only a partial understanding of what they are doing may find it takes them longer.

    It's a skill that needs to be learned and understood and then taken advantage of.

    Paul
    Actually, sputza was agreeing with you. He's saying he likes using CSS on larger sites because it saves him lots of time .

    Quote Originally Posted by mstwntd
    Please explain...
    Whether you do it in tag soup or clean XHTML and CSS, a 5-page site is easy to code and maintain either way and the time difference probably won't be that large (copying and pasting a template and changing content 4 times doesn't take very long at all, no matter how the site is coded initially). However, CSS is more futureproof should the site grow larger .

  21. #121
    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
    Paul O'B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnie
    Actually, sputza was agreeing with you. He's saying he likes using CSS on larger sites because it saves him lots of time .
    Yes I understand that I just meant that I can code one page quicker in css than I could using tables (even if i knew how to do it with tables lol ).

    Paul

  22. #122
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Whether you do it in tag soup or clean XHTML and CSS, a 5-page site is easy to code and maintain either way and the time difference probably won't be that large (copying and pasting a template and changing content 4 times doesn't take very long at all, no matter how the site is coded initially). However, CSS is more futureproof should the site grow larger .
    Absolutely. I was just wondering why he/she said it wasn't needed. Obviously nothing is needed, but surely CSS would even make a tiny site easier to build and maintain. I don't see how the scale of a project changes anything.

  23. #123
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul O'B
    I just meant that I can code one page quicker in css than I could using tables (even if i knew how to do it with tables lol ).
    Would you like for someone to show you how to use tables for design so you can actually render an opinion on the ease of creating tables vs. css?

    That can probably be arranged in another thread, and then you wouldn't have to blindly speculate that tables are slower, you'd actually have a point of reference.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  24. #124
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    sam, was that called for i wonder?
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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  25. #125
    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
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    Would you like for someone to show you how to use tables for design so you can actually render an opinion on the ease of creating tables vs. css?
    Would you like someone to show you the door


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