Posted 06 April 2005 - 10:34 AM
There was a CSS article that descibed how to ensure that a multicolumn page is delivered to a user in the sequence you want, then using CSS positioning them in columns in any order within a browser page to get around the problem of what appears in stream first for text to everything non graphical - including bots.
You make a container div for all the columns after the header, then put your middle column text (it ends up flowing between the other two), then left col floated left fixed relative top width text, then right side col floated right text relative top, so now the the Search engines index it logically according to what you want to them to see in sequence: main page text first right under the header, then the left nav, right ads (in the example) come next. That way PDA, Lynx people also get the text first without having to scroll though all the other stuff.
After the closing container div you put the footer info.
Can't remember which CSS example site I saw that on.
SSI pulls the included file into the calling page before sending to the useragent, so if the useragent can understand what is being sent, it will get it.
Best way to get a representative view of what is seen by bots is to download the Lynx browser.