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SES 2007 – CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & Search Engines

Day 3
Track 3: CSS, Ajax, Web 2.0 & Search Engines

Panel Members:

Shari Thurow of Omni Marketing Interactive
Vanessa Fox of
Mikkel deMib Svendsen od
Amit Kumar of Yahoo!

First up addressing CSS is Shari Thurow.

Why we like CSS:
1. Allows webmasters to control design parameters.
2. It significantly reduces the download of the page.
3. Easy to control exact positioning of elements of a page
4. CSS formatted text links lets users know where they have been.

Why we don’t like CSS:
1. End users must have specific fonts installed on their computers or page will not be displayed as intended.
2. Logos and banners
3. Condensed font used for screen real estate
4. Usability testing (task oriented assign and watch) and focus groups (user opinions) might show users prefer something else.

Issues With CSS:
1. Text formatting
2. Can be used to spam
3. Hide text on page
4. Do NOT add H1 tags around all text/content
5. No CSS around logos – use alt text to make alt text good
6. Often replaces description and title tags
7. Deceive search engines through negative coordinates. Negative coordinates allow designers to call text of a page before an image even when the actual image is the first portion of the page (done through x, y, and z coordinates.
NOTE! – Search engines can detect the Z coordinate and text under images if they don’t match!

Quick Tip: The style file/sheet should be excluded form robots.txt. The search engines are going to look to see if its legitimate!

Next up, Mikkel deMib Svendsen of focusing on 2.0.

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is Interactive web encouraging users to interact with the site. Essentially its a new use of old technologies.

What is important about Web 2.0?
AJAX is he most popular. Its quite the new trend in interfacing. THIS IS WHERE MOST PROBLEMS ARE THOUGH.

There is a deeper interaction of users. It turns visitors into active participant and community members.

Paradox for 2.0?
On one hand it embraces the true power of the web and user generated content; where on the other hand it is isolating itself.

AJAX is Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. It puts a new javascript layer onto the site for the client to interact with. It handles a lot of the interaction that used to be handled on the server side, which dramatically increases the response times for the application therefore improving the users site experience through ease of use.

Typical: User request to server, server replies back to user and again the user makes the next decision.
AJAX: Puts a layer built with java that handles a lot of request typically handled on the server side.

So AJAX is cool, right? WRONG! AJAX breaks the standards. Frames and Flash share a common problem. You can only link to the application, not the page. It doesn’t make sense for the search engines to crawl. If they cant send users back, whats the point in indexing!

Ummm, to be totally honest…over my head. Visit the SEORoundTable for more!

1. Its like Flash. Its nice only some times.
2. Ask yourself why you want or should use. Is it just because its cool? Or because competitor is teasing? If the reason is because it can improve usability. Then go for it.
3. Don’t let it be the default. Let it be an option.
4. Set up 301 redirection of “wrong” links.
5. Let the pros do it!

The Social Web 2.0
1. Provides a platform for user generated content so it is great for SEO. Your users write it for free!
2. Don’t have to do keyword research – users write as bad as they search LOL!
3. Misspellings are acceptable in user generated content.
4. Usually updated more often giving the site “freshness” search engines love!
5. Use them to SEO your site. Why have 1 when you can have 20,000.

How to…

1. Be sure to teach and help your users about how to do SEO.
Send out an SEO newsletter to teach what you want them to do, not everything about SEO.
2. 1 link rule. If you cant get one link to a page of content, its probably not that good. Every time you put one up, do what you can to get a link to that article.

Next up, Vanessa Fox of on SEO in a Web 2.0 Startup World. She first tells us that if you can only do one thing, build in the ability to do more things later!

Ewf – LOL, my hand slipped and computer fell. People stared. I’m embarrassed. Distracted. Get it together Ang. AND SCENE.

What you missed since Ang is clumsy…Vanessa gave us basics for SEO here…user generated content, titles, description ,etc. Then she proceeded to bash on

Amit Kumar of Yahoo!

SE point of view on all technologies:

Guided Principles:
– Built for your users. Yahoo! Will adapt.
– Think “accessibility.” Can someone’s old computer and systems still work?
– Users vote by attribution. Look for links.
– We accept hints! – Use sitemaps, etc.

– CSS. Issue…understanding your pages.
– Flash & Java…reading your pages.
– AJAX…finding all your content. Think “form filling.”
– Badges…where is the content from?

– Graceful degradation. Turn of java and CSS and navigate. Is all content reachable?
– Alternate navigation
– Sitemaps and robots.txt
Site Explorer. Submit the sitemaps

Finally, Amanda Camp of Google’s Web Master Ecstasy, reminds us that their number one goal is to make webmasters as happy as possible! Wonder if they can get me free Justin Timberlake tickets then. That would make me as happy as possible 🙂

Posted By: Angela Collins
Cal Coast Web Design