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Web Standards Vs. Search-friendly Sites
Posted 15 February 2005 - 03:21 PM
I attended that session as well, I have my coverage at http://www.seroundta...ves/001280.html
I did report that Shari said something to the effect of "Graphic images are better in terms of usability, remembered better, make a site more appealing and other advantages." But looking back at my notes, I see that she did clearly explain, in her expert opinion, the advantages and disadvantages to both.
Posted 16 February 2005 - 09:06 AM
Part of the problem is
a. Peoples understanding of HTML is low (for alot of people, especially those "just starting" their website, they simply rely on Dreamweaver or Frontpage to handle all their buildout needs. These tools usually build with tables and put alot of crap code in, code that doesn't need to be there.
b. People don't want to put the extra time and effort into learning how to build a website more efficiently and keeping it clean, so its a laziness factor as well.
IMO, the reason I use web standards are for the following:
a. Cleaner code (ridding the page of widths, margins, borders, cellpaddings, etc...) and relying on stylesheets to handle the "presentation" of the site.
b. Accessibility - when done properly, and YES, you can have a wonderful looking site through using CSS and XHTML, the site is more accessible to more people. The problem with alot of peoples way of building is that they focus on a set of users or a particular web browser (usually IE).
Whats funny is that if you build your site with accessibility in mind, you usually are optimizing your site for Search Engines just out of habit. Using alt attributes for images, title attributes, access keys, tab indexes, etc...
Plus, the less code you use, the faster a SE can get to your content.
c. SEO - this is actually a fine line, because alot of SEO's try to get you to put a bunch of keywords in your alt and title attributes. Thing is, the alt attribute for an image is suppose to be a very short description or simply "what is this picture" type of statement, not a sentence about your product. Keep in mind, if people have images turned off, it still needs to make sense to what that picture is SUPPOSE to be.
But when you have an accessible and standards build website, in the code, you essentially have a text replacement for anything that a disabled person might understand, like if you use images for navigation, well, throw a set of <span>something here</span> tags next to the image and then use CSS to HIDE the span. Well, from an SEO perspective, you can include some keywords in that span that relate to the link itself.
Alot of people have this understanding that CSS build websites are gross, blocky, and not good looking. Wrong. All you have to do is visit www.cssvault.com, www.cssbeauty.com, or even www.stylegala.com. They are all css build designs, and alot of them are incredible and much better looking then most table based websites.
IMO, it just makes sense to use standards. Sure, if you have a huge ecommerce site, it might be a little tricky getting everything to work because it IS much different then building your site with tables, but it allows you to have better code organization, structure, accessibility concerns, a faster downloading site, and SEO. So I don't really see the flaws in NOT using standards based design and development.
I recently put live my design and development portfolio and built it with accessibility in mind. I think my site is clean, attractive, and accessible, and all it required was just adding some fine tuning to certain elements.
www.absolutebica.com if you are interested in checking out my code and how I built the site.
Some of you might think its the ugliest site you have ever seen, others might think its damn good. I don't know, but this is one example where building a site through standards has SO many benefits.
On my www.absolutebica.com site, I use them there. That is ERAS ITC font, but check it out, its highlightable Pretty cool huh.
<removed live links -- Torka>
Edited by torka, 16 February 2005 - 09:20 AM.
Posted 16 February 2005 - 02:03 PM
The creator uses it on the abcnews.com website
Edited by Randy, 16 February 2005 - 02:10 PM.
Posted 16 February 2005 - 04:28 PM
Just another note regarding standards.
The great thing is by following standards, over time, you just start building things like accessibility and SEO right into the site without really thinking too hard about it.
I mean, I guess if you want to gouge a client for more money regarding that kind of stuff and charging it extra, thats your perogative, but what I have found with my sites is that I just start including the extra attributes and what not right into the code while I work.
That way the client is getting not only a well made site from the start, but one with accessibility and seo "abilities" built right into it.
Now, nothing is ever right the first time, but at least the framework is there, and THEN you can charge a client more money for more "extensive seo" work.
just my 2 cents.
Posted 17 February 2005 - 01:46 AM
And people won't care how high your PR is, or how well you rank in the SERPs if your page is unusable by humans. They'll vote with their mouse and click somewhere else.
Posted 17 February 2005 - 08:23 PM
First, I want to thank everyone for responding to my post. I'm always looking to update presentations and articles with accurate information.
Couple of items. First, to Ron Carnell and everyone, Danny Sullivan is continuing this session but just renamed it. Matt, Eric, and I are still the speakers, plus there should be search engine reps. I have new information for that session, as I do for all of my sessions.
On a personal note, I want to thank RustyBrick for validating statements I KNOW I made during that session. I specifically stated that a Web site is all about balancing text, graphics, and other files. Every industry is different. Every site is different. I'm going to state it again at the NYC conference. Since it's obvious to me that people still do not understand this concept, I have to find a different way of communicating it (which I have already done in next presentation -- you will have to attend the session to view its content).
Ron? You read way to much into my presentation. I do not like it when people attribute words, thoughts, or ideas to me that are untrue. I am sure you would not appreciate it if I attributed words, thoughts, and ideas to you that were not true. So please do not do it to me. My presentations are based on audience feedback, focus groups, and general research. I have given formal presentations about this topic for years, just not with this specific session title and description. I do not give presentations as a reaction. I'm more professional than that.
Matt, Eric, Danny and I plan the presentation topics ahead of time. If a point needs to be emphasized, then we don't mind the repetition so that the point is reinforced to the audience. Our firm does 508 sites as well as Matt's and Eric's firms, but we agreed that Matt would cover that part of the session. Eric is the CSS expert (and his books are the best books on CSS I've ever read), and that is what he is covering. I'm addressing how search engines specifically handle specific CSS elements. I've done my research. I'm ready.
And I'm always open to new input. Hence, the initial post....
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