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  1. #1
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    Do break tags hurt search engine rankings?

    I'm looking for information on if break tags <br> shouldn't be used to begin paragraphs. I work with a webmaster who insists that we not use break tags anywhere on our site (even after a subhead). Her reasoning is that search engines don't see them as the beginning of a paragraph and our search engine rankings will suffer as a result. Is there any merit in this theory?

  2. #2
    You wanna' peice o' me! Automated's Avatar
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    The answer to this would be quite interesting as i have just done a search and i have 22 <br> tags on my home page.

    Although i cannot say that my rankings have suffered, i am number 1 on a lot of search terms in Yahoo and google. First time round.

    Matthew Taylor
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  3. #3
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    No merit whatsoever. Oh she's probably right in that a search engine doesn't see it as the beginning of a paragraph, because it shouldn't be. If you want to make a paragraph use <p></p>

    However using either one will in no way affect your ranking. People often overcomplicate search engines like this "You need 3.14% keyword density on 4.3 keywords. Put your tags in this order and have exactly 400 characters of text on the page" blah blah blah. IMO a professional who makes such claims is either ignorant or just looking for an excuse to charge you more. Getting a good ranking can be done following a few simple steps.

    1. Use a text menu or if not include a text menu in <noscript> tags.

    2. Use meaningful names for files, images, and links. Always use alt and title attributes.

    3. After you write out your content go back through and replace pronouns with their appropriate keywords. Never say things like "and more." Spell out what more actually is. Don't say "we have many features." Tell me what the features are.

    4. Use keywords in your internal site links (this goes with #2) and also in your domain and site name (not what's in your <title> tags, the actual name of your site).

    5. Get people, directories, to link to you.

    6. Repeat 5 until you're #1
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  4. #4
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    SE's pretty much totally ignore all the HTML that is not in meta tags - and they ignore a lot of that also.

    They just look for what text is between the tags, such as <h3>text text</h3> - the h3 is ignored.

    And aspen is correct - people get too worked up about getting all the factors just right, and as long as you are within acceptable ranges it makes very little difference.

    BTW, the optimum keyword density is 3.723%, not 3.14%

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    3.14 looks suspiciously like Pi, maybe he was just using it as an example.

  6. #6
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    3.14 is the correct number for round pages, but most browsers nowadays use rectangular ones.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Ah, of course!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Bobf's Avatar
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    Hi Aspen

    I was extremely interested in your SE tips list especially the comment on using the <noscript> tag if you do not have a text menu. Which my site does not have - I use image buttons.

    However the definition for the use of a noscripts tag is: The NOSCRIPT tag specifies the content for a browser to display when JavaScript is not available or enabled. Navigator 3.0. Or somthing like taht.

    Would not the use of this tag be seen as spamming by SEs?

    If not and it is an acceptible practice I will certainly use it.

    Regards
    Bobf

  9. #9
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    By not having a text menu I meant having a dhtml or flash menu. An image menu still works - though not as well, as a text menu.

    Additionally it could be a good idea to put a small text menu at the bottom of your site for all visitors.

    The most important thing for link popularity is not the number of links, but the text within the links.

    For instance AV is now using link popularity heavily like Google and I've got the #1 page for "quotes" which is an extremely popular word. The reason? I link to said page using the word "quotes" on every one of the nearly 10,000 pages on my literature site.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast Bobf's Avatar
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    Thanks Aspen that has given me something to consider.

    Bobf


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