High Accessibility Is Effective Search Engine Optimization

by Andy Hagans

71 Reader Comments

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  1. I need some proof, lets have some rock solid proof. With that I can do wonders!!

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  2. Effective Search Engine Optimization is SEO without SEO-Tricks, see Google’s guidelines.
    Your competitor is watching you.

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  3. My company is in the process of reconstructing its Navigation Generation tool and unfortunately they developed a tool that generates the navigation as DHTML using bloated Javascript calls.  If I could have been in the design phase, I would have tried to convince them to do something like suckerfish (manipulating an unorderd list with CSS).  Now that I’m stuck with this, I’m wondering if there is something I can do in paralelle with this menu to offer something SEO friendly and perhaps even accessable too.  I was thinking maybe to have a page not only render the regular nav using javascript but also simultaneously render the same menu in a hidden DIV layer as an list for search engines to spider.  This scares me because I don’t want to get the infamous BMW ban for having content hidden from human eyes.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  4. Ron, Don’t go down the hidden DIV layer, you are likely to get the site banned by one of your competitors reporting hidden text.

    Your best bet would be to redesign using suckerfish and kill the javascript altogether.

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  5. White SEO – good seo.

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  6. It is true, as I have read many such articles, that certain people regard search engine optimization as a dirty trick. In a way they are not far off the mark, as white hat as it may be, all sorts of tricks and procedures are needed to successfully compete in search engine space. But it is not our fault. We inherited the system from the search engines, not the other way round, and it is these systems that we fiddle around with to find the necessary information about the algorithms before manipulating them. What’s so bad about that?

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  7. I was disappointed to hear during a Google webinar event on 22 Oct:

    ‘Webmaster Chat – “Tips and Treats”’

    that Google places no ranking benefit on a page that is well marked up versus one that is not. They made the point that great content put up by someone who did not know how to semantically markup that content should not be penalised.

    For me, this answer given by Google feels credible but at the same time I am disappointed to hear that one of the many benefits of web standards, that it improves SE ranking, is perhaps not true.

    I will always build to web standards for all the many good reasons, but perhaps I need to temper my enthusiasm for that place in the venn diagram of life where web standards and SEO meet?

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  8. In recent google webinar and above comment by Alan Google places no ranking benefit on a page that is well marked up versus one that is not. I think John and Matt where talking about “strict markup” not markup in general. I am sure the information indexed has to be parsed based on mark up and when done properly there would be benefit? Now I am confused…

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  9. I (and I think Mike above) would be delighted if a venerable ALA staffer would give their view on this (#65 and #66). Thanks in advance for any additional comments on this. Cheers, -Alan

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  10. This article is a great way to show the parallel bewtween good practices and direct benefits for your business.
    I’ve found out that it is really difficult to sell ” web standards” to customers.  Nobody (almost) seems to care.  The proof of this is that a super high percentage of sites is not standards compliant, and this is not because of lack of resources as I point out in a post on Web Standards and Fortune 500 Companies:
    http://www.aggiorno.com/blog/post/Benchmarking-DOCTYPE-validation-in-Fortune-500s-Web-sites.aspx

    On the other hand, if you tender to the benefits of web standards like accessibility, SEO, redecution in maintenance costs, better chance to display correctly on mobile browsers, etc, you do get some traction in the conversation.

    In any case, I believe Google does care about well written code and I summarize a number of examples in this post:

    http://www.aggiorno.com/blog/post/Web-Standards-and-Search-Engine-Optimization-(SEO)-Does-Google-care-about-the-quality-of-your-markup.aspx

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  11. It’s not just personal experience, either. I was introduced to one of the black-hat SEO (for Google specifically) guides last month, where various people measured the effect of certain Google-defeating tricks over time, and the enduring and verified techniques were virtually all compatible with best-practice accessible, semantic site code and content design. Nearly the others faded in usefulness over time, or even became actively penalised by Googlebot, but good, clear and simple code still has my sites
    sohbet 2nd and 4th on an ego-search at the time of writing

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