Debunking SEO Myths – part 1

First off, let me say Happy New Year to everyone! As we all reluctantly settle back in to a “regular” work schedule, devoid of festivities, short work weeks and staff parties, we can keep our eyes ahead on what is sure to be an exciting year in SEO

I was reading a great blog post ( ) from Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services Agency where she was debunking popular SEO myths. I wanted to repost a couple of them here in an effort to spread some of her wisdom and to take the opportunity to add my own two cents in to the mix.

SEO Myth #3: You can’t use tables in your HTML code

“This one makes me want to scream. HTML tables have been easily spider-able by search engines since the search engines were newly hatched. As far as I know, table code has never been anything that choked the search engines. I think this myth was propagated by website developers who advocate table-less designs to make you think you’ll somehow get better rankings out of their designs. You won’t.”

Search Engine bots expect to find TABULAR data in a table so it should not be used for the formatting graphical elements. CSS, DIVs and TABLEs are (or should only be) used for presenting information to the reader and not used for the formatting and placement of graphics. Tables should focus on the physical layout of the page and are all about the presentation of the content and information to the reader.

The Search Engine bots are more concerned with the logical use of W3C compliant HTML code on a webpage to determine its content and how to categorize the information in the context of the presented formal language structure as it reads through the page (i.e.: the div, H1, h2, table data, blockquote etc).

Tables of course should be used in moderation. Avoid the use of nested tables. They can work great for a basic site but the strength of CSS is in its ability to automatically apply global changes to a site. You will not be necessarily penalized for using tables, but there reaches a point where CSS makes more sense. Page elements and physical layouts will always be rendered faster and more efficiently using a mathematical algorithm than a table that uses percentiles etc, to determine placement and size.

SEO Myth #5: You can’t use Flash on your website

“Yes, you can! While I don’t recommend that you create your entire website in Flash, using bits of Flash here and there for some cool effects will not bother or choke the search engines in the least. They don’t punish, penalize or otherwise nuke into oblivion sites that have Flash on them. You should of course avoid putting important content into your Flash elements, and also remember that some mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad don’t support Flash. But if you add alternative text for non-Flash-enabled browsers, all should be well.”

Since 2008, Google has been able to interpret links and some content from Flash elements. More recently they have the ability now to read meta information from them and to parse the textual content of the site. This means that while there have been some great advancements within the Google algorithm, it is still cannot fully interpret flash movies and that we are still some ways from where you can safely use flash on your website concordantly with effective SEO techniques. In the meantime, HTML 5 is gaining widespread implementation and is being touted by some as the “death of flash” ( )”. From what I have seen of these examples, I might be inclined to agree.

So what can we take away from this? The world of SEO/SEM is very fluid and is constantly evolving. To be effective as possible as web marketing analysts, we must keep our ears to the ground (or to the web) for new changes and developments that make the SEO industry to dynamic and exciting. The best way to do this is to read popular SEO blogs such as Jill Whalen’s to keep abreast of the new going-ons.

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