I've written some article aobut search engines (doh, otherwise it wouldn't be in this forum). Just to see how it suits me.
So please, let me hear what you think of it..........
The importance of proper coding and SEís
The web has developed over the last 10 years into a network in which 90 percent of the entire western world is united. All these people have their own preferences, and own interests. The internet is according to the most recent estimations about 100,000 Terabyte (which equals 100000000 Gigabyte). You will understand that this is much too many to read it all. Especially when you are looking for something specific, you donít want to try first a million pages, before you find a page that includes the information youíre looking for.
Same about your customers, when they are looking for the products you are offering, you donít want them to find one of your competitors first. You might think that the only thing you can do is holding your fingers crossed, and hoping that your potential customers will find you first. However that is not true, with such an attitude youíll never make it. You are the one that have to lead your (potential) customers to you.
If they donít know where they have to look for the products or services you are selling, theyíll use a search engine. And from that point on, you can influence your potential-customer by making sure your customer sees your first, before they see the site of your competitors.
In this article I will put my aim on Google ©, just because itís the most-used search engine in the world. But donít worry other big search engines (Altavista.com & Msn.com e.g.) use about the same techniques as Google does.
Google tries to interpret the website just as you/your customers would do. Expecting that the most important pieces of content are at the begin of the page. Just as youíd do so. If you visit a website of (letís say) ten thousand words, you donít know whether itís the website youíre looking for. What do you do? You read the entire article, and decide afterwards whether this was the website youíre looking for? No!, of course you donít, you read the first paragraph, and decide after that if youíre going to read the rest of the web page, or not.
I donít know if you have ever watched the source-code of some websites, they are sometimes a mess! Even when the layout is outstanding, and the content is of high-quality. For Google, the contents of a website begin after the body tag (<body>) , and not somewhere at the bottom of a website. Of course you want that your customers come at your site because theyíre looking for the contents of your site, and not for the copyright notice of your designer which is hidden in the source code.
How can you ensure yourself of this, well, I can tell you one thing, itís not that hard if you know how. What I tried to shine through, is that you have to put youíre layout far away from your contents, but still in appliance of your contents. You can do this by putting most of it in a .css file, which you define in the header (part between <head> and </head>) of your page. In this file you can define all colors, styles, the positioning of different parts of your page, and much more. The only thing you have to do is define what part of your .css file should be used where; you do this in your contents. The rest of your layout and your navigation menu, you can put that for example after your contents. Which doesnít matter, because you define in your css file where everything should be positioned. An example of this is my own site, www.dolfschimmel.nl, it isnít finished yet, but the design is done, and if you look in the source, youíll see that the contents begin immediately after the body tag.
As I started this Article with, everything has different preferences. One of these preferences is what browser you choose (the program you use to visit websites with), in the past everybody was using Internet Explorer. In those times, it was easy to make a good-looking website, because everybody was using the same. Fortunately, times change. Eight percent of all internet-users uses a different browser than Internet Explorer, one of the most popular ones is Firefox. Youíll see that parts of your pages are viewed differently than that they were meant to be. Sometimes even parts of your contents arenít displayed at all! This is not because Firefox does something wrong, it is because Internet Explorer doesnít care about the web-standards, set by w3c (www.w3c.org), and Firefox does. Well, that last thing is mainly for your visitors, and not for Google and other search engines you might think. Of course, itís true, I didnít name search engines, but Google also sticks itself (at least it tries) to the web-standards, which means that if parts are missing in Firefox, parts of your contents will most probably not be crawled by Google. To ensure yourself that youíve made a website that sticks to the web-standards, I suggest you take a look at validator.w3c.org . Here you can validate your pages. After youíve validated your pages successfully, you are allowed to put a logo on your website designed by w3c to show your customers that youíve taken care about this kind of stuff. An example of this is to be seen at www.MrOrigano.com .
A last thing I would like to add, is that I went from on the seventieth place in Google to the top-five. This can also happen to your website!
May 19 2005
p.s. A site where yo can find more info on proper coding is www.w3schools.com .