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Edward Lewis (@pageoneresults): Below is a listing of all HTML 4 Elements that you as an SEO Consultant will be involved with at some point during your tenure. You should be familiar with the various HTML Elements and HTML Attributes that are available to you for on page SEO techniques.

You should also know when to use what Elements and/or Attributes (also referred to as Best Practices for HTML Authoring) in any given circumstances.

When you’re finished reviewing and assimilating the below information, you can test your knowledge with our Basic HTML Elements and HTML Attributes Testing Modules.
Comments54 Comments  

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Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Guess I’m not an SEO then because I don’t see how most of those have anything to do with SEO.Now if you’re a developer, then yeah--good stuff.

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from Halfdeck 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Bookmark-worthy post but the title Hairth gave it may misfire with most of the readers here. Tech SEOs can get away with painting with a much wider brush.

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from pageoneresults 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Come on Halfdeck, there is nothing technical there. That is standard HTML 4.01 Markup. It became a  W3C Recommendation in 1999-12-24. If that isn’t the foundation of a solid SEO campaign, what is?Admin Note: This comment was edited to remove a personal attack on character. User will be contacted.

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from paisley 1969 Days ago #
Votes: -3

<div>Harith,</div><div>As evidenced by the comments above.. some people just don’t know all the SEO elements, PageOneResuilts has listed quite an extensive list. Which reminds me of something i forgot to put in a page today and a topic of disccussion during one of the sessions very recently at IMSpringBreak.</div><div></div><div>But I would still consider Jill an SEO, (not one i would EVER hire or EVER listen to), but she is still an SEO and some people even think she is qualified to speak, even if she doesn’t understand the importance of tags like address , DIV, Frame, H1, HEAD. BODY, HR,   IMG etc..  and how they and their attributes apply to SEO.</div><div></div><div>"Guess I’m not an SEO then because I don’t see how most of those have anything to do with SEO."</div><div></div><div>I am sure there are people that have taken her advice and made some money or people she has improved by optimizing their website with good copywriting, so we can’t really rule her out just because she is close minded and doesn’t understand some people have been doing this as long or longer than she has and may do things differently.. she would still be an SEO.</div><div></div><div>so you might want to change the title to something like..</div><div></div><div>"HTML 4 elements you may overlook but REALLY shouldn’t???" just a suggestion.. =)</div><div></div><div>(aside: if this gets edited then sphinn has become highrankings forum 3.0, if Jill lets it stand then she is just an editor.)</div><div></div><div></div>

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 3

One can understand SEO, including technical SEO, without knowing every single element and attribute of HTML 4. For the record, I don’t use a WSYWYG editor and I do understand basic HTML as much as is necessary to know and perform SEO. I also do SEO for clients, and don’t just speak and write about it. And I’m not a copywriter, nor have I ever been one.I don’t develop websites, however. I leave those things to developers. SEO does not equal being a developer. It does entail being able to spot technical issues that can impede spiders and being able to converse with developers so that they can fix those issues. Which I do on a regular basis.It’s simply incorrect to state that an SEO needs to memorize all HTML 4.0 elements by heart or they’re not an SEO. And that is my beef with this article.

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from Harith 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Hi allIn fact the title is of @pageoneresults choice and I thought its suitable to trigger discussions, hopefully informative peaceful ones :-)

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from paisley 1969 Days ago #
Votes: -3

<div><div style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-color: #ffffff"><div></div><div><div style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-color: #ffffff"><div><div style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-color: #ffffff"><div>Harith,</div><div></div>believe it or not.. today i totally agree with jill<div></div><div>and there are too many people doing SEO successfully with different skill sets.</div><div></div><div>I think our industry has enough division without trying to create it.</div><div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div>

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from pageoneresults 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 4

"It’s simply incorrect to state that an SEO needs to memorize all HTML 4.01 elements by heart or they’re not an SEO." We could always change the title to what the original article title is... HTML 4 SEO Best Practices for HTML Authoring But I have a feeling you might find something wrong with that one too as there are no Best Practices for HTML Authoring if I follow your sage comments above. "It does entail being able to spot technical issues that can impede spiders and being able to converse with developers so that they can fix those issues. Which I do on a regular basis." From my perspective, you cannot converse with developers if you do not know the structure you are instructing them to modify. Jill, how can you say that. I mean, if you are building a Glossary for a client website and are working with the developers on the dynamics, what do you suggest the developers use for a Glossary structure? And how about if your writing an article and you need to provide a proper HTML citation for the source, how would you instruct the developers to structure that? And what if that article were multiple pages, which head elements would you suggest the developers use? We’re talking basic HTML Structure here which many in the SEO Community overlook because they don’t SEE it. If it doesn’t appear in their WYSIWYG Editor, who cares. And even then, it is all about knowing which elements and attributes to use and when. Like, what happens when I push that [B] button or that button with the 3 dots. Oh, what is that? I thought that was the ellipsis command! You know, the 3 dots after a sentence? Jill, have you read any of the HTML 5 spec yet? Let me rephrase that, have you read any of the HTML 4.01 spec yet? Arrrggghhh! Harith, see what you got me into? ;)P.S. I’ve also sent a request to Sphinn Staff to just remove this Story. Jill darlink, you’re not ready for the truth!

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from theGypsy 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Well Ed, we’ve already established I don’t know SEO right? lol... I still gave this a Sphinn (in my ignorance?) because;a. there are many useful ones thereb. was a helluva a good list/resourceThat being said, I shall sit on the proverbial fence between U and Jill. While YES there is generally SEO value to them, it’s not always feasable to cover ALL the basis. Given situations vary dependent on client budgets, CMS capabilities and so on. I won’t doubt there IS a SEO value in covering all the bases, its more about working with budgets and systems. The resources might be better spent on things like content generation/promotion, link building and more important CMS fixes... ya know?Would I call the post required reading? For sure. Would it be required implementation universally in SEO projects... probably not. Which to me says one can still be an SEO without having committed to memory the schema... Good post and great resource though - thanks... and play nice m’kay?

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from g1smd 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 1

*** I do understand basic HTML as much as is necessary to know and perform SEO. ***<div></div><div></div><div>I’d have expected a lot more than ’basic’ to have been explored in a decade of doing this stuff. I’m surprised at that admission.</div>

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from amabaie 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 8

Perhaps someone can explain to all us fake SEOs who thought we were real SEOs how exactly we might ever even want to use abbr, never mind have to (considering I have never seen this before, I have a hard time believing that even a developer needs to know what that is).The simple fact is that technical stuff is at the foundation of SEO just as it is at the foundation of baseball.  So many factors go into the exact placement, velocity, spin, etc. of a pitch, but don’t expect the pitcher to waste his time learning the physics when he should be practicing his delivery.

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from ROIguy 1969 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Well said amabaie!<div id="seolinx-tooltip" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; display: none; opacity: 0.9; position: absolute; width: auto; z-index: 99999"><table border="0" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; border-collapse: separate; width: auto"><tbody><tr><td id="seolinx-table" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 1px; padding: 0pt; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold"><div style="margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: auto; width: auto"><table border="0" style="border: 1px solid gray; margin: 0pt; border-collapse: separate" id="seolinx-paramtable"><tbody><tr><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" PR: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" I: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" L: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" LD: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" I: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap">wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" Rank: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" Traffic: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" Price: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" C: wait...</td></tr></tbody></table></div></td><td id="seolinx-tooltip-close" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 0pt; padding: 1px; cursor: pointer; vertical-align: middle; width: auto"><img src="chrome://seoquake/content/skin/close.gif" alt="" /></td></tr></tbody></table></div>

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from cgjerdetu 1969 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I hope this stays up - this is a good reference list. I don’t know if I’m a real SEO or not - I SEO my own site(s) but I also run a businsess (real estate) and I work with an SEO friendly developer - I know *very little* code. There are definitely times that I am frustrated because I can’t do everything myself - but if SEO is getting a site found in the search engines - not really convinced that an intimate knowledge of html is necessary.

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from Pulsar 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I agree with Amabale....Pageoneresults, please explain to all of us how the abbr tag will improve SEO? I mean as an SEO we need to know that one by heart right?

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from pageoneresults 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I shall preface this with a disclaimer that Harith made me do it! I bit my tongue clean through and it hurts. So here goes... Perhaps someone can explain to all us fake SEOs who thought we were real SEOs how exactly we might ever even want to use abbr, never mind have to (considering I have never seen this before, I have a hard time believing that even a developer needs to know what that is).In HTML 4, you have the abbr and acronym elements. Both have their place in the overall equation. I look at them as .25 point values. I do have a theory in regards to point values being assigned to various HTML Elements and Attributes if they are used correctly. I also have a theory that point values are deducted if they are being used incorrectly. <b>HTML: SEO Point Values</b>http://www.SEOConsultants.com/html/points/ So yes, using the abbr and acronym elements where applicable is of importance to anyone structuring content. Think about Google’s advanced search operators in this instance such as define:The simple fact is that technical stuff is at the foundation of SEO just as it is at the foundation of baseball. So many factors go into the exact placement, velocity, spin, etc. of a pitch, but don’t expect the pitcher to waste his time learning the physics when he should be practicing his delivery.I’ll reiterate, there is nothing technical here. This is the foundation of HTML. The reason you think it is technical is because these elements and attributes are rarely discussed in certain communities. If you work with documents that require semantics, which every single one does, you’ll understand the value of using those elements and attributes that are applicable in given circumstances.Well said amabaie! Thanks for your valuable contribution. ;)I hope this stays up - this is a good reference list. I don’t know if I’m a real SEO or not - I SEO my own site(s) but I also run a businsess (real estate) and I work with an SEO friendly developer - I know *very little* code. There are definitely times that I am frustrated because I can’t do everything myself - but if SEO is getting a site found in the search engines - not really convinced that an intimate knowledge of html is necessary.I’d love to provide links to all the UA developer guidelines where each and every one of these elements and attributes is discussed and how the UA is supposed to handle them. There are technical documents at deeper levels of the W3 that provide some very detailed information about HTML and how UAs handle specific elements and attributes. Few people have traveled to those depths of neverland. Its like reading patents. :)I agree with Amabale... Pageoneresults, please explain to all of us how the abbr tag will improve SEO? I mean as an SEO we need to know that one by heart right?Can I charge you for this information? I mean, I make a fairly decent living consulting with clients on doing this very thing with their Internet properties. Tell me why I should explain the finer points of HTML? Also, let’s not get hung up on 1 of many elements and attributes that are listed there. If you follow my HTML SEO Point Values theory, you’ll see that the abbr and acronym elements are .25 values and not something that you fuss over. You program the platform to tag all first instances on a page with the abbr title="" or acronym title="" and be done with it. Now, you can take this one step further and provide a link rel element in the head of your document to an onsite Glossary. But that isn’t SEO so we won’t go there. :)

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from Pulsar 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@ Pageoneresults: Please charge me....I would feel guilty learning this valuable piece of information for free. I’m sure the investment in learning the SEO value of the abbr tag would pay for itself. I think most people here make a decent living from SEO but I would be curious to know how many use the abbr tag on regular basis.

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from pageoneresults 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I use them regularly anytime an initialism, abbreviation, or acronym is used. I also provide visual clues via CSS that may cause a cursor hover at which time the title attribute comes into play and you get a tool tip with the expansion of the letters being used. Let’s talk about the link rel also. Without it, you miss the closure of the process. If you have a site that qualifies for the use of these elements, you have a supporting glossary that powers everthing you are doing at the micro SEO level. And, these elements are micro SEO from my perspective. And, I feel they are cumulative in scoring. Used properly and in conjunction with the suggested guidelines for their use and you earn cumulative points. < In theory that is. Again, I would rather not get hung up on the 1 of many elements and attributes that are on the list. If we discuss these two specifically, we will end up discussing a few others that tie in with these. There’s a lot of back scratching going on between various elements and attributes. Knowing how to scratch the itch gives you a slight advantage overall. Or at least that is what I’ve found. And no, I’ve done no hard testing on this with all the pretty charts. My gut instinct tells me it is so after all the research and in the trenches testing over the years. You’ll find that if I write about something, I’ll have practiced and researched it to death before inserting US size 11 in mouth. :) Let us also remember that we are responding to an initial comment that went like this... Guess I’m not an SEO then because I don’t see how most of those have anything to do with SEO.

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from Harith 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@pageoneresultsThank you for your generous informative educating comments. Very kind of you!

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from PaulSteven 1968 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I don’t use around a 1/4 of those listed, never seen the need, tbh, pretty sure that doesn’t make me less of an SEO type, than anyone else here. Good list though.

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from Halfdeck 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Optimizing HTML markup to that level of detail is a webmaster’s job. I’d never in a million years pay an SEO to do it.I believe Google’s snippetization bot uses various HTML markup for page segmentation, to figure out the start of the meat of a page. Snippetbot wants to know where content begins when generating snippets for pages with META descriptions that are too short when returning results for a site: search.For example: BR - tells Google snippetbot the content before a BR and after are separate entities. H1 tells Google that content begins there, so using H1 as part of your side nav, for example, isn’t a great idea. Does Google use similar page segmentation process during indexing? Who knows.There are also times where botched META description code can make Google choke. And cases where a client is penalized for off-page display:none installed by a previous SEO/developer. If you put in time at Google Webmaster Forum you’ll encounter a ton of other HTML markup "bugs" that can negatively impact a site’s ranking. While one line of hidden text code may not harm rankings, a whole slew of negative signals can make any site look like a spam site.So while Google expects to see 90% of websites use screwy HTML, there’s obviously a breaking point. And like I said, using HTML markup like H1 to signify where your key content begins isn’t a bad idea. You also obviously want to make sure that a page isn’t "over-optimized." From a purely webmaster’s POV, I also like to see a clear separation between style, structure, and functionality (HTML = structure, CSS = style; JS = functionality), so on my own sites I’d spend time getting rid of stuff like div align=center or p class=hugetext. <div align="center">That said, obsessing over stuff like CITE, ABBR? You’re turning the whole process into a religion. I’m not going to argue over the validity of that religion, but no one’s a lesser SEO for not believing in it.</div>

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from pageoneresults 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Who is obsessing? It just happened to be one of the many elements that were chosen for discussion. I didn’t bring that one to the limelight. It was the best one that people could find to dispute the title of the topic. So, let us please shift focus from the abbr element, I only awarded it a 0.25 value anyway. "Optimizing HTML markup to that level of detail is a webmaster’s job. I’d never in a million years pay an SEO to do it." Ya, good luck. Bottom line is we are all Webmasters so that means it is our job. There really is no separation between the two. It might have been that way many years ago, not anymore. And therein lies the current challenges in the industry. Some are still holding on to the old school SEO mantra and have become dinosaurs in the process."That said, obsessing over stuff like CITE, ABBR? You’re turning the whole process into a religion. I’m not going to argue over the validity of that religion, but no one’s a lesser SEO for not believing in it." Religion? Again, it was not I who brought focus to 1 element that has little value in the overall equation. Ever stop to think that all of these together in the right environment might have some influence on the quality signals that the page sends? Usually if someone has gone to the extent to utilize this type of markup structure, the content is of similar quality. Ah-ha, now that I look at me article again, I can see why the ABBR was focused on. It is one of the first above the fold due to the A2Z listing. Did any of you scroll past the fold? There is more below that."Admin Note: This comment was edited to remove a personal attack on character. User will be contacted." Halfdeck, you do realize that the comment removed was an exchange directed toward Jill. The way that edit was made, it looks as if the comment was directed towards you. Nice edit. :(

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from FPMarcil 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Ya, good luck. Bottom line is we are all Webmasters so that means it is our job. There really is no separation between the two. It might have been that way many years ago, not anymore. And therein lies the current challenges in the industry. Some are still holding on to the old school SEO mantra and have become dinosaurs in the process."   Are you serious? I would say very close to 100% of the very successful SEOs are the ones moving up to the strategic side of things rather than in the direction of the coder. If you focus strictly on conversions, you quickly realize that code is the weakest of tools per amount of time invested, in most situations.   Of course, in the perfect world of unlimited budgets where you don’t have to make any tradeoffs whatsoever, code is something that can give you an edge, but for the common SEO contract where the client is thinking about building a fully flashed-out website you will likely try to talk the client into another strategy. How he should be coding his ABBRs, quickly become something near irrelevant.

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from Halfdeck 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 5

"Halfdeck, you do realize that the comment removed was an exchange directed toward Jill."hmm I didn’t even notice that line (I probably read the original comment before it was edited?), though I do think the comments directed at Jill (not just by you) went overboard.Having said that, I’ve intentionally gone out of my way to bash Guy Kawasaki’s character here recently but I believe none of my comments were edited. Maybe I didn’t bash hard enough?"Bottom line is we are all Webmasters so that means it is our job. There really is no separation between the two."If I’m working on my own site I’ll do it myself. But I choose not to spend my time playing webmaster to my clients. Not my cup of tea. If a client doesn’t have a webdev team I’ll find him/her someone who can do the dirty work.Cleaning up HTML is not high on my list of todos either. If I need to turn a static site into a template-driven site I may decide to strip down cluttered HTML to smooth-out the transition especially since in that case, only a few template pages need to be cleaned. But there, my goal isn’t higher rankings but to make a site easier to maintain and to re-design."Ever stop to think that all of these together in the right environment might have some influence on the quality signals that the page sends?"Quality signals, as far as Googlers are concerned, revolves around patterns of malicious intent. You’re generally not going to get marked down for lousy coding as long as Google doesn’t think you are out to deceive. Knowing the proper use of HTML markup will help people avoid some of the potholes (e.g. don’t use H1 just to make words look bigger), and valid HTML will minimize crawling errors. But I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of cleaning up HTML markup to gain a ranking boost. Learning the proper use of HTML markup (at least the stuff he/she uses) is a requirement for any webmaster, just like a journalist for the WSJ should know the meaning of words he uses to write. Still, you don’t need to know every word in the dictionary or every idiom and metaphor on the planet to write effectively - which is what the title of this submit seemed to suggest. And I don’t agree that an SEO consultant with zero knowledge of HTML can’t increase conversions or non-search traffic (which sets the foundation for pulling search traffic). There are plenty of ways to skin a cat.

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from pageoneresults 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I guess it all comes down to the roles we as Webmasters are filling. From my perspective, you can’t have a solid performing platform without addressing the structure of everything first. I have a different view of what I think an SEO should know in order to successfully take a campaign from concept to completion. The HTML Elements and Attributes listed above are the start of it all. I don’t know about you, but if I’m making suggestions to a client on how to best format their definitions for a How To page, I do believe you as an SEO need to be able to make the proper recommendation on how to best wrap that content. The original goal of this article was to get people to start thinking about proper structure. There is a series of articles that all tie into this one. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I kind of figured that is as far as we would get. That’s okay, those who find value here will take that and use it to their advantage. Those who don’t will just move on and continue to do things as they have. Before you do that, you might want to read the HTML 5 specification. If you think HTML 4 is technical, wait until you see this! HTML 5 Draft Recommendationhttp://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/Many so called SEOs are going to be without a job once HTML 5 comes to fruit. Why? You’ll have to understand the prior to fully comprehend the latter. We’ve only touched the surface.

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from steveplunkett 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@pageoneresults<div></div><div>everything you have said above is absolutely correct.</div><div></div><div>maybe you just know a whole lot more than most... (not joking)</div><div></div><div>welcome to the club...</div><div></div><div>fyi... i’ve learned it’s much better just to keep your mouth shut and not try to defend yourself with people who just don’t get it.</div><div></div><div>=)</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div>

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from Halfdeck 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"The original goal of this article was to get people to start thinking about proper structure."I think you’ve accomplished that. Unfortunately, Harith’s submit title became a distraction (like I predicted)."If you think HTML 4 is technical, wait until you see this!"HTML is relatively simple compared to even a very simple programming language like PHP or Java (which takes only a week or so to learn). I’ve done some heavy-duty online coding in the last 10 years (and plenty of off-line coding before that - C,basic, pascal, assembly, lisp, PERL, etc), so its not like HTML 4 makes my brain explode... But when advising clients, HTML markup optimization is just something I choose not to focus on.

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from Harith 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I feel we are ignoring an important issue here. We SEOes all know for sure that we have two different "SEO Schools"; Classic SEO School and Modern SEO School. Among other differences the two schools differ on how much technical knowledge a successful SEO specialist must have. The Modern SEO School interact more with web development and follow the changes in web developements more than the Classical one does. With all due respects to All SEOes regardless of which SEO School they belong to.@Halfdeck"Unfortunately, Harith’s submit title became a distraction (like I predicted)."As I mentioned in previous comment, the title of this thread was of @pageoneresults choosing. I use it on this thread because I thought its very suitable to trigger informative discussions. As such "Mission Accomplished", IMO :-)

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from pageoneresults 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Ya, poor Harith. I Tweeted that title to grab some attention which then set Harith up for the title submit here. He did have the original title at first then switched it over to the more "attractive" version which I have to give him kudos for as it surely solicited some debate didn’t it? Harith, I do like your distinction between Classical SEO and Modern SEO. I also like the implied analogy, funny! But serious. :|

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from amabaie 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Big appologies if I was responsible, and it seems I was, for putting a focus specifically on ABBR.  That was not my intent.  It is just the first alphabetically of all the elements that I did not see related to SEO.  And like a number of others, I reacted to the provocative title (nothing wrong with a provocative title) rather than just the content of the blog post itself.  However, after reading all this, I am still not sure what is the utility of ABBR and KBD and ADDRESS and CITE and so many others, SEO or otherwise.  I mean, I still don’t see how my experience as user on a page is impacted by them, nor how the indexing or ranking of a page in the search engines is affected by them.  Perhaps others see the point, it’s just that I do don’t. 

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from Halfdeck 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"As I mentioned in previous comment, the title of this thread was of @pageoneresults choosing."Now now, you submitted it. You gotta man up :)

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from Ruud 1967 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Using custom event handlers tied to any HTML attribute is pretty cool; you can more or less program your own form of HTML. But I’ve always found that using some of the by now more obscure HTML tags for this is much more fun. For one: less crap in your page. Also, sometimes it amounts to more logical, semantically correct HTML.<div></div><div>/geek out</div><div></div><div>Wonder how everything adds up? http://sphinn.com/story/28008</div><div></div><div>If you’ve made it to this point in the thread, one of the best points, IMO, is that of .. points. Almost everything has a value attached to it, + or - and most often very small. But small stuff can add up.</div><div></div><div>The way the big 3 and esp. Google are force-leveling the playing field means that you’re starting to compete w/o advantage unless you try to squeeze something out of those patents, those tidbits, those 0.00025 extra in your favour.</div><div></div><div>Fun read :) Thanks to all <big grin></div>

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from sza 1966 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"Quality signals, as far as Googlers are concerned, revolves around patterns of malicious intent."I think this is highly debatable. First step for a SE is obviously to weed out malicious intent.But the next step is differentiating between two non-malicious, non-cheating sites.A proper, very specific markup (that requires extra time and involvement on the webmaster’s side) can be taken as a clean, as-yet-unmanipulated kind of quality signal, just like a general lack of typos and grammar mistakes might be. (As Google increasingly offers spelling suggestions above misspelled queries, their algorithm might have a clue about telling at least a proper and a terrible grammar apart...)On-page factors could even make a comeback with search algorithms beginning to understand and evaluate not just things like keyword density or word proximity, but more complex issues like style, grammar and formatting -- things that cannot be manipulated or automated because they always take an extra effort and thus signal commitment and professionalism.

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from richardbaxterseo 1966 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Perhaps the title "Useful HTML4 elements in technical SEO" would have been slightly more appropriate. No mention of XHTML at all...

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from livecrunch 1966 Days ago #
Votes: -3

This is great practice to keep your SEO knowledge refreshed.

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from pageoneresults 1966 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"No mention of XHTML at all." No need to. XHTML is an extension of HTML. From a publishing perspective there isn’t much difference in the handling of elements/attributes other than the trailing forward slashes for unclosed elements e.g. br, hr, img, etc. Now, that is something technical. :) For one: less crap in your page. Also, sometimes it amounts to more logical, semantically correct HTML.Ain’t that the truth! One prime example would be all the hoops that people jump through when working with graphic headings. They don’t need to do that. There is a way to do it via HTML... http://www.SEOConsultants.com/accessibility/h/ Ya, I have a bunch of articles all over the place for this stuff. I’ve never been able to post them in my previous environments. I think someone let the cat out of the bag. Where is that @Harith character at? :)

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from johnandrews 1966 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Ain’t it funny how this thread about valid XHTML has botched formatting? I wonder, does Google care where the emphasis tags start and end? Does it matter?I think it’s sad the the first comment posted is derogatory. I read the article, didn’t agree with the perspective of some of it, but recognized it has a place. I would not have thought it appropriate to post a comment that just berates it, since it was not "wrong" or misleading. User interface geeks have their opinions of the importance of the UI, accessibility geeks care about a different subset of factors. Ever use the abbr tag? Why not? If you write about ASTM you can annotate it with more expository "American Society of test and Measurement" which helps clearify the content, whether anyone appreciates it or not. Standards are intended to standardize... they don’t enforce appreciation for standardization.By the way this is another example of "sub optimal" moderation at Sphinn. The thread is very confusing, given the way it was moderated. Back to that note about the first comment being derogatory/provocative...

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from Hluska 1966 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m actually scared to comment...On the topic of SEO (whatever that is) versus HTML (I hope we all know what that is), I think it is obvious that a search marketer does not need a background in HTML, but I hope it is obvious that understanding the intricacies of W3C markup will make life a whole lot easier.  Sometimes a little bit of technical knowledge goes a long ways towards making communication easier and more effective.  Does anyone here have so much spare time that they do not want to make communicating with developers easier and more effective?  As for the article that created this hubbub, I have to say that I am rather disappointed.  From a support/user experience perspective, this article only went about 75% as far as it could have and should have.  If I wanted to read an article on the intricacies of W3C markup, I would go right to the W3C.  When I saw the topic, I thought this could be a great resource to show people how good HTML more often than not equates to good search results.  Alas, I was left asking, "So what does that really have to do with search?" and/or "Doesn’t W3.org do a better job of explaining/showing how this tag really works?"To conclude this novella of a comment, that was a great topic to write about.  Unfortunately, your treatment of this important topic left a lot to be desired.  I will, however, be sure to read more of your articles as I can see that you have a whole lot of knowledge locked away in your grey cells!

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from SLight 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Being able to real off big lists of HTML elements does not make you an SEO. I can code, but I rarley need to. As time goes on the importance of on page elements continues to dwindle, most of these relate to Web Dev and not SEO which are two seperate things. I am an SEO, not a web dev guy. I look at a far bigger picture and as long as a page validates and the main SEO code elemts are correct, metas, h1, alt tags etc, that’s my interest in the individual page elements over with.<h1>Google continues to give more wieght towards brand, skewing the SERPs in favour of the trust part of the algo rather than the old school page elements. Look at any major comercial site; thier pages are full bad code yet they still rank top. This argument may have been important a few years ago but I just don’t think it’s that relevent anymore.</h1>

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from pageoneresults 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Okay, let’s see if we can fan the flames some more. This should get interesting. On the topic of SEO (whatever that is) versus HTML (I hope we all know what that is), I think it is obvious that a search marketer does not need a background in HTML, but I hope it is obvious that understanding the intricacies of W3C markup will make life a whole lot easier.Hmmm, those two comments seem to contradict one another don’t you think so? Also, I see you just signed up, who sent you? :) As for the article that created this hubbub, I have to say that I am rather disappointed.Obviously you are not the only one. Tell me what disappoints you other than the fact that you could have read all of this including my comments, examples, etc. at the W3? :)From a support/user experience perspective, this article only went about 75% as far as it could have and should have.I’m still mulling that one over. Only about 75%? Is it possible that you did not follow ALL links that lead to other articles that lead to other articles that lead to other articles? That you only traveled 25% into the collection? There happen to be quite a few of them there that are all tied in to one another. Of course you could go to the W3 and read most of that without my comments and industry specific examples. How many people involved in this topic would actually go over to the W3 and spend an hour or two reading a one page document that is 5,280 feet long? Which of course leads to a multitude of other documents at equal lengths? So what does that really have to do with search? and/or doesn’t W3.org do a better job of explaining/showing how this tag really works?By itself? Nothing. Combined with other elements that are part of the semantics of it all, no one really knows for sure, we can only make "educated guesses" based on research, interpretation and testing. Something that has been forgotten in certain SEO circles.  Unfortunately, your treatment of this important topic left a lot to be desired.Heh, you are welcome to treat it however you wish and let us know what parts left you feeling undesirable. I’d be happy to opine further if there was something there that you did not understand. Being able to real off big lists of HTML elements does not make you an SEO. I can code, but I rarley need to. As time goes on the importance of on page elements continues to dwindle, most of these relate to Web Dev and not SEO which are two seperate things.Here we go again, that old web dev excuse. Hey, that’s okay, go right ahead and leave this to the dev team. I’ll assume you have some other secret SEO strategies to implement for them. Like stuffing alt attributes and elements with specific keyword densities and such. I know the routine.I am an SEO, not a web dev guy. I look at a far bigger picture and as long as a page validates and the main SEO code elemts are correct, metas, h1, alt tags etc, that’s my interest in the individual page elements over with.Another one who didn’t visit and read the destination. I’d say your comments are based purely on passion and you’ve not seen the big picture yourself. I fully understand and I wouldn’t expect anything less from this discussion based on comments to date. Google continues to give more weight towards brand, skewing the SERPs in favour of the trust part of the algo rather than the old school page elements.Did you just say "Old School" page elements? Oh boy. Seen HTML 5 yet? Seen who is fervently supporting HTML 5? Seen the new elements and attributes that are available for defining content? Ya, on page elements are dead. Go right ahead with that mantra and we can have this discussion again a year from now. We’ll see if your thinking has changed any. And, if you are still working as an SEO. ;)Look at any major comercial site; thier pages are full bad code yet they still rank top. This argument may have been important a few years ago but I just don’t think it’s that relevent anymore.It is actually becoming more relevant as each day passes. But, I want YOU, and YOU, and YOU to continue to think that way. When the time comes and all is said and done with, maybe, just maybe one or two following this topic will have gotten IT and we’ll be chattin over at WebmasterWorld or somewhere else where these types of discussion and theory are accepted by most and many find value in the outcome. Good luck with your future SEO endeavors. And, hope that one of your clients never calls me for a site audit. You’ll most likely be standing at the 5S offramp with a soup tin collecting whatever monies you can. Hey, the guy at my 5 offramp makes a killing! I know, I probably account for half of his meals every week. :)

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from TerryCox 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Not sure stating someone isn’t an SEO is accurate if they aren’t familiar with the mark-up, I think it comes down to "the more you understand of how the web functions, the better you can be at SEO".  Someone who doesn’t get this level of detail can still improve the visibility of web pages in search results, there may however be instances where someone that does is at an advantage.

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from Halfdeck 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 5

"WebmasterWorld or somewhere else where these types of discussion and theory are accepted by most and many find value in the outcome."WMW has always been a poor platform for substantive SEO discussions for one simple reason: the mods don’t let you post URLs. So you have a bunch of people making guesses based on half-baked statements made about a site no one can actually look at. If you want to really get "technical", try reading Google Groups Webmaster Help archives. Then you’ll realize what people tell you about their sites are generally unbelievably inaccurate, and that without posting URLs you are basically listening to a bunch of blindfolded wise mice talk about a flick they never seen.Not to mention people over there spend 24/7 disecting SERP movements. I’m not interested in a cut of that action. Ok so by monitoring WMW, Aaron Wall picks up stuff likethe -6 glitch, -950 penalty, or the "brand" boost. So what? At least two of those cases are inactionable. In fact, a client of mine spent night and day turning his site upside down after getting the -6 thingie for a week, trying to de-optimize his code and filing reinclusion requests. Guess what? That -6 thing wasn’t a penalty, just a temporary coding glitch. The only good thing that came out of all that "SEO detective work" was a few more bucks in my bank account.The brand boost thing - Matt said things like PageRank and niche authority and trust are more important than ever. Thanks for the info..but hearing that changes nothing. Link marketers’ been chasing authority and trust for a long time.A few years ago, people talked about supplemental results 24/7 on WMW. People there were convinced META descriptions and TITLE atttributes had something to do with that. I think both g1smd and tedster believed that - tedster still believes META descriptions are part of that equation, based on the fact that Googlebot used to only pick up pieces of a supplemental page and that when he updated his meta and TITLE he saw movement, not considering a statement made by David Crowe that content freshness has an impact on a page’s supplemental status.So you think WMW’s stamp of approval overrides the fact that plenty of internet marketers produce results for clients without bothering to correct improper HTML markup? There are plenty of websites that need SEO debugging. If you’re into that, try  Google Webmaster Forum (where you deal with REAL URLs, more insightful, more technical feedback plus occasional feedback from Googlers like JohnMu and others), not WMW.Clean HTML code makes it easier to diagnose technical (non-marketing related) SEO issues. HTML cleaning can be done by any Web Dev idiot that’s been coding HTML or Dreamweaver for a couple of years. All he/she has to check is HTML markup is used the way they’re meant to be used and that the code is light as possible (so its easier for an SEO to scan for potential problems).Whether you want to spend your time running a client’s site through an HTML validator is not a matter of right or wrong.If you think you can’t increase conversions without touching HTML, you’re not an SEO.

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from pageoneresults 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Okay Halfdeck, I won’t mention WebmasterWorld again. You and I have a totally different perspective on how that community functions. It is much more than what you paint it to be. And, until you contribute to that platform as much as I have, I don’t think you can make any statements about poor platforms. If you want to really get "technical", try reading Google Groups Webmaster Help archives. Then you’ll realize what people tell you about their sites are generally unbelievably inaccurate, and that without posting URLs you are basically listening to a bunch of blindfolded wise mice talk about a flick they never seen.Halfdeck, I am subscribed. I read Google Groups and many other destinations for confirming information.So you think WMW’s stamp of approval overrides the fact that plenty of internet marketers produce results for clients without tinkering with their HTML?I never said that, you did. Please, don’t start injecting different meanings for previous commentary from moi.Clean HTML code makes it easier to diagnose technical (non-marketing related) SEO issues. HTML cleaning can be done by any Web Dev idiot that’s been coding HTML or Dreamweaver for a couple of years.No it can’t Halfdeck. If it were that way, you and I wouldn’t be having this discussion and many SEOs would be homeless. Web Dev Idiot? Oh boy, the Internet sure needs some of those idiots right now, don’t you think?All he/she has to check is HTML markup is used the way they’re meant to be used and that the code is light as possible (so its easier for an SEO to scan for potential problems).As I tweeted, I think there are two halves to the deck. :)If you think you can’t increase conversions without touching HTML, you’re not an SEO.After all of the above and you close with that? What’s a person to think? Also, we are probably about ready to BREAK this story with the number of comments that have been posted. I foresee some strange things happening soon. :)

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from steveplunkett 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Harith....<div></div><div>re: classic vs. modern...</div><div></div><div>i’d use a different distinction.. (based on my own personal experience)</div><div></div><div></div><div>classic - on page, code..</div><div></div><div>modern - links... </div><div></div><div></div><div></div>

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from g1smd 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@halfdeck Supplemental Results were heavily tied to many factors involving Duplicate Content (and titles and meta descriptions were one such factor) [confirmed by Matt Cutts   Just to explain....    |    Just to chime in, I agree    |     eh, or you could have just   too], as well as other factors having influence.<div><div></div><div>However, as fast as we got a tiny glimpse of the man behind the curtain, he had already changed the way things worked, in many subtle ways... and is still changing them.</div></div>

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from Halfdeck 1965 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"After all of the above and you close with that?"Lol..why not? It’s the converse of the title of this submit. My Ying to your Yang.g1smd, I remember that thread, which is about omitted results, not the supplemental index. The supplemental results as you know were tied mainly to PageRank consolidation problems, while some continue to speculate about other "hidden" factors. Google’s cited URL complexity and page freshness as two other factors - both have nothing to do with PageRank.That said, neither duplicate TITLE attributes nor META descriptions were ever an issue. PageRank split due to multiple versions of the same content (www vs non-www, Capitalized urls vs lowercase vs mixed case etc) was one of the main culprits. Updating TITLEs and META descriptions may trigger a freshness flag and pull borderline pages into the main index but you would get the same result by updating 10,000 pages worth of HEAD data with new, duplicate text.

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from SLight 1960 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@pageoneresultsHi, I can see you feel very passionatly about this issue. It is difficult when you put a piece of work on the web and so many people disagree with you.I was wondering if you could tell me why you feel so strongly about HTML 5 and why Google will suddenly be placing so much more weight on onpage elements. Every update I’ve seen for a long time has moved importance away from on page factors not towards it?Also if you could let me know what I should do with my clients where making a large number of changes on page isn’t an option (mainly due to marketing and legal restrictions) as they will all be dropping out the rankings in a year or so. This just seems to be directly against what Google  CEO Eric Schmidt recently said:"Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."What he’s talking about is using brands to push out the smaller less trustworthy sites and create more valid results. I work on these big brands, I know how bad the onsite SEO is.Doesn’t this go directly against what you are saying?

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from phillmidwinter 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

SEOs need to gain a better understanding of how search engines are actually programmed. SEO as an industry is currently too rumour based and this is leading to some companies doubting our research and integrity. In order to regain client trust SEOs should be working to improve their skills in relation to search in terms of programming and, unfortunately, mathematics. Search engines are based on extremely complex formulas that use vector based models and are always seeking the most efficient way to program crawlers and indexing. This reliance on efficiency is a key factor in knowing what variables affect a website’s ranking.So HTML is part of that understanding. I don’t understand why any SEO worth their salt would choose to close their mind to an area which may have some benefit to their clients. 

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from Drenzul 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m sorry but how can you seperate SEO and HTML? Sure there are some PARTS of SEO you can do without knowledge of HTML but there are still very large part at requires at LEAST a basic level of HTML and preferably Javascript knowledge as well. While HTML isn’t essential to do an SEO job on a site, knowledge of HTML will allow you to do a much better job by understanding how the sites works so you are able to have the site coded for best SEO practices. Two sites that look identical could perform very differently from each other in search engines if they are coded differently even if they don’t use flash. Without an understanding of XHTML it makes it almost impossible to even tell the difference particually if the author has written it in an easy to read way! Overall the title is a bit sensationalist, you don’t NEED HTML to be a SEO, however at least a basic understanding is a massive boost to your understanding of SEO and what is happening as well as your ability to perform SEO on a site.-Drenzul

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from pageoneresults 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was wondering why there was recent activity in this topic and I see that SER has a poll topic related to this. I was wondering if you could tell me why you feel so strongly about HTML 5 and why Google will suddenly be placing so much more weight on onpage elements. Every update I’ve seen for a long time has moved importance away from on page factors not towards it?I’m not sure I understand the question. I’ve not seen any indicator that Google or any other search engine is moving away from on page factors. In fact, I see the opposite. But, that’s just me and a few others in this topic.Why do I feel strongly about HTML 5? Probably because it is the next evolution in website architecture. And, Google appears to be supporting its movement just as they do with other technologies.Also if you could let me know what I should do with my clients where making a large number of changes on page isn’t an option (mainly due to marketing and legal restrictions) as they will all be dropping out the rankings in a year or so.Are you being funny or serious? I’d fire those clients and find ones that will be more flexible and not treat this as an a la carte option. That is why many clients fail, they approach this with the a la carte mentality and it doesn’t work. You either do it ALL or you settle for less.What he’s talking about is using brands to push out the smaller less trustworthy sites and create more valid results. I work on these big brands, I know how bad the onsite SEO is.I really shouldn’t have to explain the power of BRAND to anyone here. Google just now got around to refining who is a BRAND and who is not. It was a smart move on their part to deal with many other challenges from BRANDs themselves.Doesn’t this go directly against what you are saying?You pick one thing and use it as going directly against what I’m saying? That’s fine, I’ve already opted to not provide any more information here on this as many just haven’t gotten IT yet. When it clicks for ya, we can talk. Until then, just continue what you are doing as it appears to work just fine. We all have our methods of achieving success. If yours work, Kudos! I definitely don’t see it working when you CANNOT restructure documents to be more semantically correct and valid.

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from Halfdeck 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I definitely don’t see it working when you CANNOT restructure documents to be more semantically correct and valid."Any idiot can write W3C valid HTML *ducks* :) I do believe people need to validate their HTML - otherwise you can’t see the forest for the trees. For example, it took me half an hour of digging around yesterday to figure out how to embed WMV without using [embed] (which isn’t HTML compliant obviously, and kept cluttering the w3c output with 18+ lines of errors, making it difficult to spot other errors that actually matter. But without EMBED my vids weren’t showing on FF). The one suggested by W3C doesn’t quite work but this does (for both IE and FF)http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dk5d53m_224crk242g7

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from pageoneresults 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hmmm, mine is a little different than that and works just fine in FF. Check the differences...Arrrggghhh! Forget it. Couldn’t get the code to post properly. I use it here for the Twitter Videos. http://www.SEOConsultants.com/twitter/tso/Any idiot can write W3C valid HTML *ducks* :)Heh, gotcha when you came back up! Let’s not even discuss validation. ;)

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from Halfdeck 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I use it here for the Twitter Videos."Yeah but in this case I don’t wanna link to flash/youtube :) Don’t think the code would work or validate if I tried it with a link to an WMV.

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from mcanerin 1958 Days ago #
Votes: 0

3 Comments based on personal observation:1. I would say that you can get great, profitable, useful rankings (and qualified visitors) without knowing much about the technical side of SEO, if at all. If you define SEO as someone who does this, then you would be an SEO. I suspect most clients and website owners would define an SEO like this, and couldn’t care less how those rankings were attained, as long as they were sustainable and legal. So whose definition do you use, the clients or the theorists? Push or pull?Put another way, if your site has horrible coding, fails almost every W3C check, applies middlin to bad SEO practices, and annoys HTML purists, but consistently outranks your competition, is the SEO good or bad? Why?2. I also think that understanding the technical aspects of SEO (and more widely website technology in general) helps you make good decisions, and predict likely results given new situations. It’s also great for solving problems. In my experience, approximately 60% of major issues with rankings for new clients revolve around technical issues. I would hope that your SEO could identify and either fix, or direct a fix for those problems, else I’d have a hard time calling them an SEO. Link builder maybe. But not an SEO.The "optimization" part of search optimization implies moving towards "optimal". Not just "working" or even "working well". This suggests addressing ALL aspects of rankings, not just the big ones.3. I’ve noticed, and this is a purely personal observation, that the best SEO’s tend to come from marketing or other human oriented backgrounds, not coding backgrounds. Coders have a tendancy to attempt to code their way out of problems, which can often result in spam, needless duplication, and even completely stupid ideas.If you think about the top 100 stupid ideas in SEO, probably 75 of those are coder-initiated or related. Complicated automatic linking schemes, link bots, clickbots (’cause Google likes popular sites, ya know), needless cloaking, and so on. Given this, I’m not sure I want to put too much emphasis on some sort of SEO superiority of technical SEO’s even though I count myself as one most of the time.In my experience, the absolute best marketing campaigns onthe net were derived from human ingenuity and creativity (content), not standards based markup. The markup simply helps the content be found, but content is king, not markup.Just some thoughts,Ian

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from charlotteseo 1872 Days ago #
Votes: 0

half of the stuff is for web developers. title is an insult - linkbait

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