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    Tables or Div Tags. Does it matter? Facts!


    Ok, so i have been building a site for weeks now as still learning the (clean back-end coding) just so Google can read the website faster?

    Please give me your true and honest advice on what im asking here, does it really matter and WHY does it if it does effect your website rankings just because our websites coding is massive compared to a very clean div taged (css) website lay-out website design.

    Here is an example:

    tabled website but with good rankings, alpha1securityservices.com
    css (div tags) with good rankings, kingdomsecurity.co.uk

    So what im trying to ask here does this honestly have any affect with your rankings to google?

    Thank you in advanced. Shane, UK.
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    Well, there's first off a lot of debate about correct and proper code that validates. I've seen crappy codded sites kill the rankings, so I'm not sure on that note.

    However, I can tell you divs will compress code, thus, decreasing the file size and thus, improving load time. Granted. over a 10 page site we're talking KB's of data, but it does add up.

    So, to answer the question, the more important thing about this is faster load time for Google and the end user. That's really where divs and CSS comes into help.
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    Hi Shane

    It actually doesn't matter much nowadays. Search engine spiders are basically full featured web browsers, referred to as headless browsers. They see what you and I see. That means they know where elements are placed on a page and how the user interacts with them.

    The arguments that it does matter are as follows;
    1) The W3C who provides standardization advice has long since been recommending the CSS layout (you don't actually need DIV tags to style the elements but that is the most common use)
    2) Some old HTML code is being depicted from general use
    3) A high quality web site will observe the latest code standards
    4) Better cross browser compatibility (you should be checking this) will come from using recommended code standards and this will give a better user experience

    That last bit is key - user experience - this is what really matters. Unless you have a rock solid really well coded HTML tables layout you can cause elements of the page not to load properly or neatly in some browser and platform combinations. This gives slower loading (there are download times and the rendering times both have real and practical implications) and a poorer user experience.

    My stance on it is that it doesn't make a big difference at all if the site is well coded, and given that there are W3C standard recommendations - why would you not do that?
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    Originally Posted by tstolber
    3) A high quality web site will observe the latest code standards
    Don't mean to hijack but does this include the programming language? Can using a dated language harm a site?
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Chinese Proverb
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    Hi Lb1878 - do you mean PHP, ASP or HTML?

    The answer to that is no (unless there is significant delay in come cgi or .shtml scripts) if it returns HTML (i.ie you can see a web page in a web browser).

    There is very little effect that any server side technology will have.

    There are some ramifications to client side code, but that is largely javascript and basic javascript and even flash are now indexed and understood by search engines. Going a little deeper and looking at AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript And XML) there can be some issues. There are some techniques to mitigate the effect of AJAX functionality on search engine performance.
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    So im wasting my time with this, i could do a better looking site if i was to use Dreamweaver tables and within a day not within a month. Stick to what i know? as it really doesn't matter?
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    div's v tables does not matter, as mentioned above however code size does as it effects load times. Every extra byte adds up on your file sizes. Use style sheets and minimize them by using one of the many online compressors. (dont save them over your original though) Same with javascript files get them out of your main HTML pages and minimize them if you use javascript. Strip out comments etc that are for you and not your end users when you publish the files.

    I have never seen a site rank higher because of the the technology they have used unless it effects loading times.
    Good SERPS is great, Traffic however is even better
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    shayneoc - possibly, if your development time is 1 day vs a whole month. But you need to validate it, cross browser check it, de-bugg it for all errors. It is quite easy to have a table site that doesn't display on some platforms with some minor coding errors. If you don't thoroughly check it you might miss it.
    As always, you should use your analytics to determine if there is a particular combination that has poor usability stats - this is indicative of a rendering problem.

    My advice would be to try and move to the new technology ultimately because it is more forward compatible and just better in a lot of ways.

    But, what ever way you deliver a web page, all other things being equal the technology does not have much of a difference.
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    Not sure. My main site was converted to DIV's 2 years ago. It has a blog and some articles, but not the best backlinks. It struggles. My second site which is largely ignored, rarely updated, and is still all nested tables has steady growth. It has no real written content at all but builds backlinks naturally and easily without any effort from me. That's the biggest difference I see.
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    It has no real written content at all but builds backlinks naturally and easily without any effort from me.
    I would love to know how?

    Comments on this post

    • Lb1878 agrees : ditto
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    Originally Posted by tstolber
    I would love to know how?
    Social bookmarking and FFA directories. Duh.

    Comments on this post

    eeyipes → disagrees: um, no.

    Comments on this post

    • eeyipes : um, no.
    Last edited by joshz; Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:23 PM.
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    But you know someone will take you seriously
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    When it comes to layout the tables are not such a great idea for it, according to the rule that you should place your most important content at the top of your HTML. In this case for search engines the things like navigation in a table-based layout, will be considered most important. So that is a great reason why table-based layout should be replaced with CSS - div tags.
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    Tables vs Div – I think there is lot of value of using Div to make search engine friendly design of site by using CSS at many place with Div id that make your web more faster and its impossible with table. Even after introducing Google rich snippet function it has become more important to go with Div

    Comments on this post

    • Chedders : you can style a table just as easy as a div
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    @ikica - actually nowadays this is not important. You could place your most important piece of content last in your HTML but have it be the most prominent element on the page by styling it as such.
    Search engines view web pages as if they were full featured web browsers - just without the GUI front end. They are considered "headless browsers".

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