Be Found:
Redefine core formatting tags

How to design findable web sites and get ranked with the best

The basics: understanding search engines and spiders

Index or directory?

Setting the right keywords

Using robot protocols to prevent unwanted indexing

Use core HTML tags more efficiently

Optimizing tricks to avoid

Getting dynamic web pages indexed

The problem of unreadable content

The commercial options for SEO

Using htaccess for efficient redirection

The final word on SEO

Use existing semantically-recognised formatting tags to style your text content and gain search engine and accessibility readability.

Rather than rely solely on custom styling, whether with outdated font tags or modern CSS, use the core HTML text formatting tags to mark up and style your text. There's a huge amount that can be said about this, but the concept is pretty simple: use tags that carry meaning of their own to indicate hierarchy and structure within your text.

For example, the header tags (h1, h2, h3 and so on) are recognised by search engines as indicating different levels of importance within the text of a web page. If you use those to style text that's of specific levels of importance then those words will be given a little more weight when your page is indexed by a search engine.

If that's all you did you'd end up with ugly Times New Roman Bold type in various specific sizes in your layouts... but if you use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to define new type formatting settings for these traditional HTML tags you'll regain all the control that you had with ad-hoc style markup - and produce pages that will rank a little more highly with no further effort.

As an example, the headline on these pages is formatted as an h1 style. But rather than leave it to show up as 36pt Times New Roman Bold in black, it is defined as white, 32px, with a text shadow (only shows on some browsers), and set to show as Copperplate if possible, Gill Sans if not, Arial if that's also not available, and so on. Some of the CSS text styling used in this page is shown below for those that are interested.

h1 { color:#fff; font-family:Copperplate, "Gill Sans", Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:bold; font-size:32px; margin-top:0px; margin-bottom:0.1px; text-shadow:0px 1px 3px black }

h2 { font-family:Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-weight:bold; font-size:16px; margin-top:0px; margin-bottom:0.1px; text-shadow:0px 0px 5px #fff }

h3 { font-family:Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-weight:bold; font-size:11px; margin-top:3px }

p { font-family:Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:11px }

This is generally very easy to put into practise and, best of all, it brings direct benefits for making your site more accessible to all sorts of disabled users as well.

Looking for tips on searching more effectively instead? Read the Search Secrets pages.

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