Search Engine Optimization January 15th, 2009
What do you think would be the best thing about using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in your site’s design? Is it easy website maintenance? Styling or flexibility & control with CSS styles? Those are indeed nice benefits! For business owners though, the most rewarding advantage is CSS will return more benefits to your search engine optimization. You are wondering how? Before delving deep into this topic lets look at what CSS is and its general advantages in supporting user friendly website design.
As many web designers know already, CSS plays a great role in controlling the appearance of content in a webpage. In its simple terms, CSS is a style sheet language that allows web designers to attach styles such as spacing, color, font, etc. to HTML documents. With CSS styles the designer has great flexibility and control of the exact page appearance; from precise positioning of layout to specific fonts and styles. Its benefits include:
One of the big benefits of CSS in SEO is that it helps build an SEO friendly website. CSS requires light code compared to the cumbersome table based HTML codes. Search engine spiders love to index web pages with clean and light code. In most cases the search bots stay away from going deep into complex HTML code to get to indexed codes. So it is better to use external CSS files to design and determine the design attributes of your website. This keeps the HTML code clean and spiders index your web pages more accurately; this will result in better search engine rankings. Maintaining clean code makes a huge difference to your site’s SEO.
Today, there are many tools on the web that show the actual code over text ratio weight of your site. The reason is that search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! prefer light-weight sites to heavier ones. It is the textual content that they look for in a particular site and not the code. Excess code is clutter – something search engines don’t like! With CSS, excessive code can be separately stored in an external file. The actual page will be clean and simple, the way engines like it to be.
With the emergence of smart phones the number of users accessing the internet has reached a tremendous level. It is reported that at present, one third of the world’s population is using hand held devices like cell phones for getting at Internet. Here, website accessibility counts a lot. With CSS you can make your website more accessible. So for making your site accessible to handheld users you simply create an additional CSS document which will be called up in position of the regular CSS document. This is not achievable with a HTML tabular framework. CSS adds to the accessibility of a webpage document by clearly separating it’s structure from presentation. The webmasters are able to weed out the excess HTML to make the pages simple and more visible. So make sure to add an additional CSS document to boost your search engine optimization efforts.
As I said earlier, CSS uses less code than tabular layouts, it downloads faster than tables. With tabular content browsers need to read twice before exhibiting the content . Firstly to analyze the structure and then to determine the inside content. The content will be visible only after the entire table is downloaded and rendered. But if we place all the code in an external CSS document, it will get downloaded faster on the user’s PC. Another advantage of using CSS code in your webpage is it helps manage the order of items to be downloaded on your screen. Most web users prefer to see content than images, and CSS allows you to have control to make content appear before the slow loading images. User friendly attributes are things that search engines love to see!
CSS is compatible with all major browsers like Mozilla, IE, Opera and Netscape and now Chrome. By making your website load faster and make it easier to maintain, saves a lot of time.
I could keep writing about CSS but I think you get the picture. CSS is the butter on the bread; the sugar in the tea; the peanuts in the peanut butter. If you don’t have it – things just dont seem right. So make sure when you get your next website design project completed that you are using the latest in CSS.
How CSS Can Help Your SEORead time: 3 minutes