SEO and Tables
Once, half a decade ago, the use of tables in your HTML code was thought to be a good way to have spiders abandon the indexing of a web page. But just as most people no longer believe the world is flat, so this myth of SEO has faded from the popular outlook. Search engine spiders, if they were ever so poorly designed that they couldn’t index a web page that contained tables, even nested ones, have long since
been improved by the programmers who design them. Today, the discussion has become more of an argument over whether using CSS is superior to using tables, and that is a debate that is largely a matter of taste and style.
Tables were first incorporated into HTML in the mid-1990′s, as one of many ground-breaking Netscape extensions. Until around the turn of the century, some browsers refused to embrace this new form of web page data management. And even after the turn of the century, some browser manufacturers, specifically companies named Microsoft, lagged behind the rest of the browser community, and choked when faced with tables that had to be parsed. As Internet Explorer strove to monopolize the market rumors and authoritative” advice became common that tables were impossible for spiders to crawl, or that spiders were only able to index top layers of nested tables, or any number of other mostly useless rubbish that discouraged the use of tables. As late as mid-2007, IE still choked on nested tables, but it’s dominance of the browser market had begun to flag, and less attention was placed on what a single browser could handle as emphasis was placed on clean code instead of page designs based on what a single browser could handle.
In truth, SEO experts as far back as “SEO” has been a term for page optimization have pointed out that their websites, rich in the use of tables and nested tables, ranked very well with major search engines. With the introduction of CSS, tables began to be described as outdated, and all but the most determined devotees of pure HTML coding began to make the switch. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are easier to write, and cleaner to use, requiring less code to do the same job, and are usually less susceptible to being corrupted by sloppy coding. For the SEO crowd, CSS offered methods to “trick” search engines, and became the preferred method of page design. Today, CSS is recommended because it is easier to use, and is poised to make some of the original HTML tags completely obsolete, such as the <font> tags.
But tables are still in use, and are not currently in danger of obsolescence. Spiders which crawl websites examine the code of a page, and index that page regardless of tables, even nested tables. Using them does not reduce your rating with search engines, as many still claim. However, because CSS simplifies the code so much, it is now advised to use that method, rather than tables, whenever possible, and it is quite likely that CSS will replace many facets of page layout, including tables, in the next few years. Learn to use CSS, and you’ll see that validation errors from improperly defined tables will be reduced, or completely eliminated. And the better your HTML code, the more favorable it will be to spiders which crawl the page. At this writing, it is still safe to use tables, but keeping up with trends in HTML layout is important for anyone
who wishes to establish and keep a top page ranking; for this reason, it is imperative that CSS becomes a part of your website design plans.
Article written by SEOnotepad.com