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18 replies to this topic

#1 netwants

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:13 AM

G'day all from cold but sunny Sydney Australia.

Last week I read an article which has me spinning if what it says is correct.

It stated that search engine spiders look for important text and that they DON'T SEE all our <b>'s and <i>'s but DO SEE <strong> and <em> tags and we'd all be better off using those tags.

I have hundreds of pages on my site and just dread the thought of spending months changing all the <b>'s to <strong> and <i>'s to <em> .

My question is - is the article correct and is the benefit of changing all the tags going to offset the massive job ahead ?

Cheers,
Andy.

#2 dragonlady7

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:29 AM

I don't know about that.
I do know that B and I are being deprecated in favor of strong and em. But I don't know how deep that goes, and I don't know the impact it has on search engines.
I don't know how much they pay attention to either set, honestly. I haven't heard of them having that much impact. I use strong to indicate strongly emphasized text, and generally use em to indicate things like proper names of programs or publications.
I know that someone did do an experiment that seemed to prove that using H tags instead of larger font and bold tags resulted in better rankings, but I haven't seen anything equivalent about bold and strong.

#3 Alan Perkins

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:35 AM

It's nonsense.

While it's a good idea to phase deprecated HTML out of your site, as long as good sites are using deprecated HTML to publish good content, good search engines will rank those sites highly.

If the deprecated HTML actually broke some browsers, especially some common browsers, that might be a different matter. But <b> and <i> don't break anything.

#4 thejenn

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:36 AM

Simply from the standpoint that b and i are being depreciated, I've started building ALL of my sites with strong and em in their place. In fact, HomeSite (which I LOVE) will let you change your keystrokes and even click commands so that when you "bold" something, it uses the strong tags rather than b. You can do the same thing to set the em instead of the i.

On top of that, if you have a program like HomeSite or Dreamweaver, you should be able to do a universal find and replace on your site to ditch the b and i tags and replace them with strong and em tags.

#5 Jill

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:50 AM

Welcome Netwants and TheJenn! :)

I don't think any person can say for sure whether a search engine gives more weight to one tag over another. It's very difficult to test that sort of thing, and most articles I read on the subject, are simply guesses and theory.

Use the tags that make sense for your site. If your keyword phrases are consistently being used throughout the page copy and within the Title tag, it really doesn't matter much whether it's also in bold or whatever.

Jill

#6 Ron Carnell

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 10:27 AM

I'm essentially a lazy person.

Until they can figure out how to spell strong with only one letter, or at least give me a compelling reason to change, I'll probably continue to use the <b> tag. :)

#7 Jill

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:25 PM

I agree, Ron! Why would they take all the good easy short tags and get rid of them? Who dreams this stuff up anyway? :hmm:

Jill

#8 netwants

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:56 PM

Thanks dragonlady7, Alan, thejenn, Jill and Ron for your helpful responses.
My Webmistress designed the site using Frontpage of which I know nothing, but I'll have a look at Homesite and Dreamweaver to see how I can change all my <b>'s to <strong>'s and <i>'s to <em>'s at one click.

Cheers,
Andy.
:hmm:

#9 Jill

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 06:37 PM

Homesite has a great global search and replace command. You should be easily able to use that for that purpose and change the whole site at once.

Jill

#10 qwerty

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:55 PM

netwants, you can do a find and replace in FrontPage as well. From the Edit menu, select Replace. In the dialog that comes up, enter (for example) <b> in "Find What", <em> in Replace With, then select the radio button for All Pages, tick the checkbox for Find in HTML, then either click Replace All or (if you want to be relatively careful) Find in Web.

If you do Find in Web, FP will search all the pages, then give you a list of all the pages in which it appears. Double click the first entry on the list and it will take you to the spot in the code on that page in which the first <b> appears. You can then either replace that one, replace everything on the page, or go to the next occurrence.

When it's done with a page, you save the page and it will go straight to the next.

#11 Ron Carnell

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:00 PM

Tread very gently using any WYSIWYG editor for global replace.

When you save the changed page, you're going to have <strong>word</b> and, potentially, a VERY confused editor. The original I'll-change-the-code-to-what-I-think-it-should-be FrontPage would automatically removed the unmatched closing tag, leaving you no opportunity to do a second search and replace. Not sure if more recent FP versions will guess your intentions any better?

#12 qwerty

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 10:28 PM

No, it probably wouldn't. You would either need to remember to go back in and do a replace on "</b>", or run your original replace on "b>" (unless, of course, there's another tag out there that ends with a ;). [interesting... that smilie is supposed to be the letter B followed by a closing parenthesis.]

But I know that the versions I've used (98, 2k, and 02) don't remove the orphaned closing tag.

#13 Ron Carnell

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 04:28 AM

I still have FP 98 loaded on one of my old machines, so I ran a quick test. It will completely remove the closing tag when you change the opening tag and resave the file.

#14 netwants

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 05:00 AM

:lol: Blimey !!

Thanks for all your advice, but I'm wondering if the risk involved using an editor to try to do a one-time change from <b> to <strong> and <i> to <em> is worth it in improved search engine ranking.

As I've said before, I know nothing about Frontpage, ( or any other text editors for that matter ) but could practice on some dummy pages I have.

Have any of you actually done the change, and if so have you noticed any difference in your rankings ?

Cheers,
Andy.

#15 markymark

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 06:01 AM

I read the same thing you did, Andy. I've tested it - with the expectation that it would make no difference to ranking. I was right. I think Alan's comment sums it up for me : "it's nonsense".




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