Naturally Accessible SEO

The weather has squashed my plans for getting down to the beach today. I decided to do some catching up on blog reading and explore a few blogs that I had bookmarked.

My first port of call was Mike Cherim’s ‘Beast blog’ where he has just written an informative post titled: The Power of Natural SEO. Though most of it is well known SEO convention I was more interested in reading it because of Mike’s reputation as an expert on web accessibility. Mike then covers one of my favourite subjects – semantic page structure – where he states:

Creating a well ordered semantic page is the best way to go. Don’t use structures, like tables, that may, if not used as meant to be used, impede indexing progress. Other examples, like Flash only pages, frames, content-containing images that aren’t properly backed up, also challenge indexing and often make locating specific content difficult to link to as well. A properly formed and marked-up page is good for everyone, spiders included.

A brief look online amongst some of the well known SEO’s and even newer optimisers coming into the market are still not heeding the ‘no tables advice.’ Yes, search ‘bots’ such as the Googlebot can crawl through tables faster today than previously, it crawls a site even faster if it’s built in a table-less environment. Good mark-up is essential for future proofing of any website. If you are using valid XHTML the chances of integrating into future technologies becomes easier. An example is the mobile web – the current recommended language is XHTML for building mobile websites that are used by wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDA’s ‘as it offers an integration point for both handheld and wired content’.

SEO covers many areas, it is not just optimising a page for content and meta-data, it also has to consider page load speed. Good mark-up will increase a websites speed for the end-user. I would like to find a study on how many websites lose potential customers because they are slow to open. The chances are if you have a heavy graphic or badly marked-up page – your visitors will go straight to your competition.