HTML Tables and Search Engine Optimization
HTML tables are a popular way for web designers to create the page layout of a website. In this article we will look at how search engines read html tables and how to properly use tables from a search engine optimization point of view.
What are HTML Tables?
Html tables consist of coding that renders information in sections called cells. Some website designers use html tables to help format the layout of their site. e.g.
How Search Engines Read HTML Tables
Search engines read HTML tables from the top left corner across the table row then moves down to the next row of cells. This is also how text based browsers and screen readers present the web page content to those using these devices to access websites.
The browser also reads the HTML table coding in the order it is coded into the web page i.e. row by row, cell by cell. But the browser has to read all your code before showing the table in the browser window.
Using the Web Accessibility Toolbar's table cell order feature we can see what order the search engine will read the html table cells in:
As you can see from the image above the search engine is going to read the HTML table cell with the navigation information first then the table cell with the web page content.
Some search engines display the first 20 or so words of a web page as the description in their results. Looking at the example above, the description below the web page link in these type of search engine results would just show the links in the HTML table cell with the navigation links.
To get the search engine to find the web page content cell first the layout HTML table needs to be set up with a blank table cell in the top left:
Now the search engine will read the HTML table cell with the web page content in it first:
In summary, search engines read HTML tables from left to right, row by row. To have the search engine read the web content first when using HTML tables for web page layout blank (empty) cells need to be added prior to the HTML table cell with the web page content. This method will improve the web page search engine optimization for a web page using HTML tables for layout.
HTML Table Articles
- Space Out HTML Source Code It is so much easier to look at your HTML source code if you space out your HTML code, putting each part of the HTML code on a separate line.
- Learn to Design HTML Tables with Less Code When starting off in HTML coding beginners are very tempted to design HTML tables when creating web pages. Learn how to use rowspan and colspan.
- Flexible Design (Liquid Design) Using a flexible design (also known as liquid design) accommodates a variety of browsers, screen resolutions, operating systems and monitors.
- Improving Download Speed Tables can be hard for the browser to render. The browser processes all the code contained in the table before rendering it on the browser screen.
Search Engine Optimization Articles
- Web Page Content Search Engines See Web page content is all the information between the <body> and </body> tags of the web page. This is the web page content that the visitor and search engines will see.
- Search Engine Optimization - SEO To effectively perform search engine optimization (SEO) you need to understand how the search engine spider (web crawler) works, how search engines read web pages, what search engine spiders (web crawlers) look for, what happens after you submit your web site to search engines and how search engine indexing works.