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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianOConnell View Post
    I've been reading up on HTML5 and it is interesting to see the use of H1 elements here for example - Semantics - Dive Into HTML5

    It seems the article element allows us to essentially have as many H1s as we wish.
    I'd say that's a bit of a misconception. You can put multiple <h1>s into a document, but the DOM will not necessarily parse them as <h1>s.

    For example,
    <body><h1> is structurally considered as <h1>
    but
    <body><section><section><section><h1> is structurally considered as <h4>

  2. #52
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    <body><section><section><section><h1> is structurally considered as <h4>
    I think you're better off saying it is considered structurally *equivalent* to h4 in HTML4. Otherwise it becomes mighty confusing in an HTML5 context.

    However, that seems a little bit of a misconception by itself, because there is a conceptual difference in the nature and function of headings between HTML4 and HTML5.

  3. #53
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    I have to agree with oddz and Rudy, a page should only have one h1. I will disagree about oddz comment about making sidebars an h3 vs an h2 because you simply break the document hierachy. If you take out the content and look at the headings in the source, do they flow? That is do they go 1-2-3-4-5-6 relative to where they are? While I do agree with sidebar content is not important as main content, that is no reason to mess the tree up. Messing the tree up can lead to larger [accessibility] issues, and points to using whatever tag you wish (as mentioned and correctly dismissed earlier).
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  4. #54
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rguy84 View Post
    I have to agree with oddz and Rudy, a page should only have one h1. I will disagree about oddz comment about making sidebars an h3 vs an h2 because you simply break the document hierachy. If you take out the content and look at the headings in the source, do they flow? That is do they go 1-2-3-4-5-6 relative to where they are? While I do agree with sidebar content is not important as main content, that is no reason to mess the tree up. Messing the tree up can lead to larger [accessibility] issues, and points to using whatever tag you wish (as mentioned and correctly dismissed earlier).
    So that brings us back to my original post.

    How do you markup disparate sections on a home page that do not logically link together in a hierarchy?

    Are certain sections or side-bars more important than others? Yes. Is content in the middle column probably more important? Yes. But do all of the sections on my home page fit into a "logical hierarchy" or an "importance hierarchy"? No!

    So how do you handle this?

    That is the $10,000 question...

    For now, I made my top section in the middle column an <H1>, and the section below that in the middle along with sections in the left and right column <H2>.

    On all other pages - which are typically articles - I have the article heading as an <H1> - which usually mirrors the <TITLE> and then I have paragraph headings in the article as <H2> and the content is, of course, <P>.



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  5. #55
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    For me, a good rule of thumb is H1 & H2 should be limited to the main page data, H3 and beyond are a good starting point for sidebar information (though you shouldn't need much beyond H3 or you've got too much in the sidebar....

    To explain.....

    I typically think first in the context of the content of the document itself. I give the page heading (article title, group's/person's name, etc) the H1. I then give the section headings H2, and maybe (maybe) give a subsection a h3. I very rarely go beyond because if it needs those, the page is too convoluted and needs to be simplified.

    For sidebar data, I typically give them H3 headings if I use them. They're not as important as the main page content, and since I don't find headings beyong H3 to be vital (or often needed), I'll typically just stick with H3 as my sidebar baseline.
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  6. #56
    SitePoint Member xairbusdriver's Avatar
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    I guess I need to go back to school...I just have a hard time understanding the problem in deciding why a "Sitepoint Guru" has trouble deciding what the main topic/subject of a personal home page would be. Isn't it about that person?! Things about that person? Interests about that person?! Surely one would want some kind of 'definition' about that person even if it is no more than "its" name, and then, get on with the major groups of interests/things/etc.

    Frankly, when I first started reading this thread, I thought there was some major kind of problem with HTML hierarchy that had been discovered, instead it's a simply comedy of opinions because a few people can't think of a title of a personal home page. For cryin' out loud, just call it "Home Page" and get on with the purpose of the page (assuming that has even been decided)! Who cares how a "personal home page" is designed, anyway? If you don't have or care about any standards, why argue with those who do? I gotta go...

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by xairbusdriver View Post
    ... why a "Sitepoint Guru" has trouble deciding what the main topic/subject of a personal home page would be.
    to be fair, the title "Sitepoint Guru" is automatically assigned by the forum software as a default title when the person does not choose a customized title (there are several such default titles, depending on the number of posts)
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  8. #58
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    So that brings us back to my original post.

    How do you markup disparate sections on a home page that do not logically link together in a hierarchy?
    Look at: H42: Using h1-h6 to identify headings | Techniques for WCAG 2.0- is about accessibility, but shows how heirachy makes your code better. Better - cleaner code is roughly more accessible from the start. Thus makes a happy Ryan, so why not kill a few birds at once?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    For now, I made my top section in the middle column an <H1>, and the section below that in the middle along with sections in the left and right column <H2>.
    Sounds good

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    On all other pages - which are typically articles - I have the article heading as an <H1> - which usually mirrors the <TITLE> and then I have paragraph headings in the article as <H2> and the content is, of course, <P>.
    For the <h2> bit do you mean
    Code:
    <h1>Buying your first computer</h1>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Windows</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Mac</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Unix</h2>
    <h3>Ubuntu</h3>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by xairbusdriver View Post
    I guess I need to go back to school...I just have a hard time understanding the problem in deciding why a "Sitepoint Guru" has trouble deciding what the main topic/subject of a personal home page would be. Isn't it about that person?! Things about that person? Interests about that person?! Surely one would want some kind of 'definition' about that person even if it is no more than "its" name, and then, get on with the major groups of interests/things/etc.

    Frankly, when I first started reading this thread, I thought there was some major kind of problem with HTML hierarchy that had been discovered, instead it's a simply comedy of opinions because a few people can't think of a title of a personal home page. For cryin' out loud, just call it "Home Page" and get on with the purpose of the page (assuming that has even been decided)! Who cares how a "personal home page" is designed, anyway? If you don't have or care about any standards, why argue with those who do? I gotta go...
    It's not usually that simple, and if it were my "personal home page," I would care greatly about how it was designed. As for the question behind the thread, it's made clear very quickly that it isn't just about the question of naming a page, it's about heading hierarchies, a legitimate point of discussion.

  10. #60
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    Hang on a minute...

    Isn't it true that the hierarchy of HTML tags is only really applicable in a linear HTML context? If so, that is all that is important.

    It doesn't matter where they appear on the page after layout has been styled into columns, sidebars, etc. The important thing is that they are in an optimum hierarchy for readers that only see the HTML linearly (screen readers, Google, etc).

    So... lay out your HTML in the correct hierarchy, then move things around to wherever you like using css

  11. #61
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xairbusdriver View Post
    I guess I need to go back to school...I just have a hard time understanding the problem in deciding why a "Sitepoint Guru" has trouble deciding what the main topic/subject of a personal home page would be.
    Yes, you definitely need more schooling...

    Doesn't make much sense to rant and insult me about my inability to figure out how to mark up a personal home page when this entire thread is about a *corporate* home page similar to Amazon.com or BBC News or CNN.

    Learn to *read* before you start posting insults...



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  12. #62
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rguy84 View Post
    For the <h2> bit do you mean
    Code:
    <h1>Buying your first computer</h1>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Windows</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Mac</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Unix</h2>
    <h3>Ubuntu</h3>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    Yep, that would be a good example of what I meant.


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  13. #63
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiJohn View Post
    Hang on a minute...

    Isn't it true that the hierarchy of HTML tags is only really applicable in a linear HTML context? If so, that is all that is important.

    It doesn't matter where they appear on the page after layout has been styled into columns, sidebars, etc. The important thing is that they are in an optimum hierarchy for readers that only see the HTML linearly (screen readers, Google, etc).

    So... lay out your HTML in the correct hierarchy, then move things around to wherever you like using css
    That's my whole point, John. My *corporate* home page isn't linear from a content standpoint, unless <H1> = TheCompanyName.

    This is an example of linear content...

    <h1>Buying your first computer</h1>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Windows</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Mac</h2>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    <h2>Unix</h2>
    <h3>Ubuntu</h3>
    <p>bllah blah blah</p>
    But on home pages that I've done for myself or clients, its never that easy.

    Take the client who is trying to get into Financial Planning.

    Left Column:
    In The News (articles)
    ---
    ---
    ---
    ---

    Tax Preparation (articles)
    ---
    ---
    ---
    ---

    Financial Planning (articles)
    ---
    ---
    ---
    ---

    Client Recommendations
    ---
    ---
    ---

    Right column:
    Why do I need a Financial Planner

    Upcoming Workshops
    ---
    ---
    ---
    ---

    Tip-of-theDay


    Center column
    Slide Show (That Paul O & Rayzor helped me out with)

    Featured Articles

    Articles #1


    Article #2
    This *example* shows how unrelated and NON-linear a home page can be...

    Not as simple as the example before which is linear...



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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    That's my whole point, John. My *corporate* home page isn't linear from a content standpoint, unless <H1> = TheCompanyName.

    But on home pages that I've done for myself or clients, its never that easy.

    Take the client who is trying to get into Financial Planning.

    This *example* shows how unrelated and NON-linear a home page can be...

    Not as simple as the example before which is linear...
    It is depending on how you look at it. You're trying to tie all items into one concept, when in reality, they're not the same concept.

    This ties back to my points in post #55. You assign the main content the appropriate headings, then the additional "linky" content lower heading settings.

    So for your example, I personally would assign the H1 to the Featured Articles Content, then H2 to the individual articles. These are the focus of this page and should be delineated as such.

    I would probably either give all H3s to the rest, or if you want to mark them with hierarchy, give H3s to the content in the right, and H4s to the content in the left as the content in the right is more closely related to the main content, where the left is more generic "industry" stuff.
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  15. #65
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMaxwell View Post
    It is depending on how you look at it. You're trying to tie all items into one concept, when in reality, they're not the same concept.
    No, the exact opposite.

    A lot of others in this thread are trying to tie things together into a rigid *linear* relationship, and I've been saying all along that logically the content is NOT related that way.


    This ties back to my points in post #55. You assign the main content the appropriate headings, then the additional "linky" content lower heading settings.

    So for your example, I personally would assign the H1 to the Featured Articles Content, then H2 to the individual articles. These are the focus of this page and should be delineated as such.

    I would probably either give all H3s to the rest, or if you want to mark them with hierarchy, give H3s to the content in the right, and H4s to the content in the left as the content in the right is more closely related to the main content, where the left is more generic "industry" stuff.
    Okay, and that is what I ended up doing per some other people's advice. (e.g. oddz and rguy84)

    So it sounds like we are on the same page.



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  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    A lot of others in this thread are trying to tie things together into a rigid *linear* relationship, and I've been saying all along that logically the content is NOT related that way.
    Depends on how you look at it. If you look at linear as "rank of importance" (which is what the H#s represent) of your content, then it is.

    So I would rank
    • Main Page Idea/Concept
      • Sub ideas/concept that supports the main idea
        • Information that supports the sub idea/concept
    • Anything closely related to the main idea
    • Unrelated concepts
    I would break down the informational piece as far as it needed to be, then assign the next header number to the related ideas, as they are not as important as anything under the main idea umbrella. And finally would be the unrelated concepts.

    So you could visualize it linearly as well. Assumung you only go three layers down for your main idea (otherwise you may want to consider revising/breaking up the concept), you'd visualize it as:

    Main Idea (H1) => Sub idea/concept (H2) => Supporting information/concepts (H3) => Concepts related to the main idea (H4) => unrelated concepts (H5)
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  17. #67
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    I understand the issue of non-linear corporate pages with non-related content, but IMO if you have a lot of that, you should be asking whether your information architecture is really doing its job. I've built some enormous corporate sites, but I've never had a page that I couldn't assign a single H1 to. If the information doesn't fit, you might want to consider whether it should be elsewhere.

    Obviously, I'm not saying that you've got it wrong; without having seen your sites or worked on them, you may be absolutely right. But it's at least worth thinking about whether rearranging the information might help.

  18. #68
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    I understand the issue of non-linear corporate pages with non-related content, but IMO if you have a lot of that, you should be asking whether your information architecture is really doing its job. I've built some enormous corporate sites, but I've never had a page that I couldn't assign a single H1 to. If the information doesn't fit, you might want to consider whether it should be elsewhere.
    It gets bad when, for structural reasons, you have content (site content, like navigation, ads, whatever) coming before the actual main point of the page (the h1 and following content). I usually go a few months convinced one way is best, then I waffle and switch to another way.

    And there is usually one page where a clear h1 was difficult: the main page. The best I could come up with was, on the homepage and homepage alone, have the logo/company/website name be the h1. On all other pages, the obvious h1 content became the h1, while the logo/company/website name because a p or something.

    I'd say if a page is really chaotic like some news and business sites, I'd try to ignore all the "site" stuff (90% of that clutter is the same on every page... and exists completely outside the "content document" of the page you're on). I ignore weather widgets, latest gossip, links to the comics.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/
    (now, when I view it it says "mobile" so maybe I'm getting a clean mobile version that others aren't getting?)

    This one is interesting. I find this page incredibly clean. It's not full of garbage. But look what they did to the h1. They have it in the document for document-flow reasons (this is a main page remember). But what LOOKS like the h1 (TOP STORIES) is an h2. The H1 on this page is the name of the site: BBC homepage. (and it's hidden)
    When I click on a story, they clearly decided that here it was obvious the h1 would be the whole... what's that French word for "reason of existence"?
    <h1>Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey</h1>

    Yet there's a header before that:
    <h2 id="header">...alt="BBC News"
    <span class="section-title">Middle East</span>
    </h2>

    This breaks the suggestion on WCAG that pages start with the h1 and all sub headers come later in source. It also doesn't make sense: is "BBC News Middle East" a subheader of "Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey"?

    No. Just looking at those two titles, you'd think they should go the other way around.
    <h1>BBC News Middle East</h1>
    ...
    <h2>Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey</h2>

    But they didn't. Why? Because the main focus of the page isn't BBC News Middle East. It's the story about Thousands Fleeing Into Turkey, and that's why they made it the h1.

    So basically, we have to break these rules when our sites are not, as Debbie put it, 1990's "linear". The "page" stuff often comes first in source, but is just part of the "frame" of the real dedicated main content.

    I would be okay navigating the BBC pages (and frankly this has more to do with them giving a rat's at all about accessibility, regardless of the mistakes they still make) even with this non-WCAG-ok structure. It's because site structure sometimes interferes with page structure.

    The site structure is
    h1: BBC News
    h2: Middle East
    h3: News story from the Middle East

    But the page structure is
    h1: News story from the Middle East
    ul: BBC>Middle East>This News Story

  19. #69
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    Off Topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    what's that French word for "reason of existence"?
    un bon vin blanc
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  20. #70
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Rudy, lawlz, yes

  21. #71
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    The best I could come up with was, on the homepage and homepage alone, have the logo/company/website name be the h1.
    I think that's almost always the right solution. The alternative is to use h1 for something like 'home', and then hide that title, but that's not a great alternative, IMHO.

  22. #72
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Stomme poes,

    I like what you had to say.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    It gets bad when, for structural reasons, you have content (site content, like navigation, ads, whatever) coming before the actual main point of the page (the h1 and following content). I usually go a few months convinced one way is best, then I waffle and switch to another way.
    That is a big part of my issue.


    And there is usually one page where a clear h1 was difficult: the main page. The best I could come up with was, on the homepage and homepage alone, have the logo/company/website name be the h1. On all other pages, the obvious h1 content became the h1, while the logo/company/website name because a p or something.
    You hit the nail on the head!

    I'm not having issues choosing an <H1> for my other content pages. It is just the Home Page that is less obvious.


    I'd say if a page is really chaotic like some news and business sites, I'd try to ignore all the "site" stuff (90% of that clutter is the same on every page... and exists completely outside the "content document" of the page you're on). I ignore weather widgets, latest gossip, links to the comics.
    Agreed.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/
    (now, when I view it it says "mobile" so maybe I'm getting a clean mobile version that others aren't getting?)

    This one is interesting. I find this page incredibly clean. It's not full of garbage. But look what they did to the h1. They have it in the document for document-flow reasons (this is a main page remember). But what LOOKS like the h1 (TOP STORIES) is an h2. The H1 on this page is the name of the site: BBC homepage. (and it's hidden)
    What do you mean by "hidden"?


    When I click on a story, they clearly decided that here it was obvious the h1 would be the whole... what's that French word for "reason of existence"?
    <h1>Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey</h1>

    Yet there's a header before that:
    <h2 id="header">...alt="BBC News"
    <span class="section-title">Middle East</span>
    </h2>

    This breaks the suggestion on WCAG that pages start with the h1 and all sub headers come later in source. It also doesn't make sense: is "BBC News Middle East" a subheader of "Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey"?

    No. Just looking at those two titles, you'd think they should go the other way around.
    <h1>BBC News Middle East</h1>
    ...
    <h2>Syria: Thousands still fleeing into Turkey</h2>

    But they didn't. Why? Because the main focus of the page isn't BBC News Middle East. It's the story about Thousands Fleeing Into Turkey, and that's why they made it the h1.

    So basically, we have to break these rules when our sites are not, as Debbie put it, 1990's "linear". The "page" stuff often comes first in source, but is just part of the "frame" of the real dedicated main content.
    Exactly!


    I would be okay navigating the BBC pages (and frankly this has more to do with them giving a rat's at all about accessibility, regardless of the mistakes they still make) even with this non-WCAG-ok structure. It's because site structure sometimes interferes with page structure.

    The site structure is
    h1: BBC News
    h2: Middle East
    h3: News story from the Middle East

    But the page structure is
    h1: News story from the Middle East
    ul: BBC>Middle East>This News Story
    How important are Heading Tags to Search Engines (vs Title Tags)?

    Part of what I'm worried about is how I'm being listed in Google and how Google sees my Home Page as far as what the Home Page is about.

    In the past I had almost all of my Home Page marked up with <DIV>'s and then one day a few weeks ago I realized what a terrible thing I had done?!


    That is when I started this thread!!

    So here is what I currently have to start my Home Page...

    Code HTML4Strict:
    <div id="header">
    	<a href="<?php echo WEB_ROOT ?>index.php">
    		<img class="logo" src="<?php echo SECURE_WEB_ROOT ?>images/MyLogo.png" width="200"	 alt="Debbie's logo" />
    	</a>
     
    	and so on...

    How should I adapt this to fit what you are proposing?

    Do I just wrap my logo in <H1>'s like this...

    Code HTML4Strict:
    <div id="header">
    	<H1>
    		<a href="<?php echo WEB_ROOT ?>index.php">
    			<img class="logo" src="<?php echo SECURE_WEB_ROOT ?>images/MyLogo.png" width="200"	 alt="Debbie's logo" />
    		</a>
    	</H1>
     
    	and so on...


    You know, a lot of my confusion on how to mark up my Home Page is that I am just using an *image* for my company name instead of using text. So that is why I didn't start of my Home Page with any <H1>'s but jumped right in to using lots of <DIV>'s.

    Hope that makes sense?!


    Debbie

  23. #73
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "hidden"?
    They have
    Code:
    <h1 class="hide">BBC Homepage</h1>
    It's the last content-thing before "Top Stories". They have it there for structural or accessibility reasons, but thought it was pointless to show to sighted visitors using a graphical browser.

    How important are Heading Tags to Search Engines (vs Title Tags)?
    I know both are used, also in conjunction with meta description tags. The difference is, title tags don't have to worry about fitting in page structure. They just name the page and usually also the site.

    Headers are part of a structural hierarchy so they matter more to us. I'm not sure how much into hierarchy of headers the googles go into (or do they just note, "here's a header"?), but it matters enough to other visitors that we'll just pretend that structure matters to SEs too.

    How should I adapt this to fit what you are proposing?

    Do I just wrap my logo in <H1>'s like this...
    You could, except that your page probably isn't about Debbie's logo. I tend not to use "logo" in my logos, because my logos are (usually) images of text. So the alt text says exactly what the image text says.

    If the image is saying "Debbie's Awesome Site" then I'd suggest wrapping the h1 around the anchor with the image and alt text saying the same thing "Debbie's Awesome Site" then structurally:

    <h1><a link>Debbie's Awesome Site</a link></h1>

    is what you have.

  24. #74
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    They have
    Code:
    <h1 class="hide">BBC Homepage</h1>
    It's the last content-thing before "Top Stories". They have it there for structural or accessibility reasons, but thought it was pointless to show to sighted visitors using a graphical browser.
    Is that a bad thing to do (i.e. "hiding" an <H1>)??

    Doesn't Google penalize you for such trickery?


    You could, except that your page probably isn't about Debbie's logo. I tend not to use "logo" in my logos, because my logos are (usually) images of text. So the alt text says exactly what the image text says.

    If the image is saying "Debbie's Awesome Site" then I'd suggest wrapping the h1 around the anchor with the image and alt text saying the same thing "Debbie's Awesome Site" then structurally:

    <h1><a link>Debbie's Awesome Site</a link></h1>

    is what you have.
    So, if I do that, would that meet your standards/approach described above?

    Would that take care of my <H1> issue, or is it better to have a "hidden" text <H1> like the BBC uses?


    Debbie

  25. #75
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Is that a bad thing to do (i.e. "hiding" an <H1>)??

    Doesn't Google penalize you for such trickery?
    No. Accessibility people have wondered ever since the Googles figured out how to find cloaked text. Matt Cutts answered definitively several years ago, hiding structure that you have put there for accessibility is fine. "BBC homepage" isn't exactly a shining example of keyword-stuffing cloaking anyway.

    Would that take care of my <H1> issue, or is it better to have a "hidden" text <H1> like the BBC uses?
    I dunno if one is better than the other in your case. I do know that alt text of an element who is contained in a header is supposed to be equivalent to any other type of text contained in a header.

    Try it and then run your page through the W3C Semantic Data Extractor.

    It's not an infallible tool but it's kinda neat to see the document structure of your page laid out as bullet points.


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