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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:13 AM
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 ?
Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:29 AM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:35 AM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:36 AM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:50 AM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 10:27 AM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:25 PM
Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:56 PM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 06:37 PM
Posted 31 July 2003 - 07:55 PM
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.
Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:00 PM
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?
Posted 31 July 2003 - 10:28 PM
But I know that the versions I've used (98, 2k, and 02) don't remove the orphaned closing tag.
Posted 01 August 2003 - 04:28 AM
Posted 01 August 2003 - 05:00 AM
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 ?
Posted 01 August 2003 - 06:01 AM