CSS for SEO
Yes, we are very sorry, but it is time for some geeky acronyms. CSS is the shorthand for cascading stylesheets – a technique which allows you to control in great detail the way in which your website is displayed to your visitors. In and of itself, we highly recommend you research CSS in depth if you are intending on building or developing your own website, but even if you are only adding content to a site built by an external developer, it is a very important skillset to have to affect the visual impact of your site. However, in addition to being a great visual aid, you can use CSS for SEO – it allows you the freedom to minimise your code, use certain heading tags to identify important aspects to the search engines and alter the order in which your content is served to search engine robots.
Streamline your code by using CSS for SEO
The traditional (and one of the original) ways of developing websites was to make heavy use of tables. (We apologise, but this next segment is going to go into some depth regarding code – if this is likely to send you to sleep, please scroll down two paragraphs.) Tables give a web designer a huge level of control and flexibility about the way in which a page displays, but they do have a MAJOR drawback – bloat. Most search engines will do an initial crawl of your website, and on this initial crawl they will only bother to look at the first n characters of code. If your code is massively bloated with nested tables then the search engines dont actually get to see any of your content. By using css for seo purposes you can also improve the flexibility of your website – putting the definitions for body text rules into a single stylesheet for example also means that if you want to change your entire website appearance, you only need do it in the single stylesheet file as opposed to every individual page. If it is an external stylesheet, the search engine robots will skip it altogether allowing them to get to your content quicker. As website speed is a big factor in your seo strategy, removing layout definitions from individual pages and centralising them into external stylesheets will also help on this factor too.
CSS for SEO – Using Heading Tags
Another application of your css for seo purposes is that you can utilise heading tags (click the link for more information) and modify your css so that the tags aren’t as prominent as the browser defaults would normally force. For instance, on this site the title just above this text is an h3 tag. Normally this would be black, and 2-3 times the size of the normal text. However, using css for seo we have made it a purple (visually more sympathetic to the site), made the size roughly 1.5 times the size of normal text and also reduced the default line height applied. As well as making the site more aesthetically pleasing, it allows us to use a traditional and search engine friendly tag in a way which is not intrusive to the visitor experience.
We make heavy use of css for seo with all of our SEO clients, but if you are intending to conduct your own modifications then we hope the above article helps. If you do have any follow up questions please use the comments form or contact us. We will be happy to help you modify your CSS for SEO purposes.