Code Search Engine Optimisation is dying

I have been doing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for a few years now and have seen a big change that could be for the best, or for the worst.

When I first started, all I was told was the best SEO is done code base. You need to make sure your code is validated by W3C, use you H1 tags and get as many anchors in there as you can. You had to make sure the code was as SEO friendly as possible because that was what search engines looked at for great sites.

Even before that the biggest thing was Keywords Meta tag, which now you do not use at all because search engines said people just flood that tag with words for better ranking. Everyone over used this tag so the search engines said they would stop using them to help rankings. I even tell others not to put it in there code as you could get down ranked because other search engines use it to determine you as spam, plus it get them in routine. This is what I am seeing with code base SEO now though.

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As times have change I have seen mainly google as always, becoming smarter with it’s crawling system to determine if you are a relevant site. Google has got better at reading your content and then marking you as a valid site more then looking at you code. It seems the code side is now more to show the skill level of the site and tell the search engines where to look.

I can understand that anyone can become a good coder and push a website, which you don’t want. You want to have the most relevant website come to you in your search results. This is why they got rid of the meta tag keywords, because it was to easy for people to fudge their website to rank better. Now you have to have good quality content, that make senses as well, plus trying to get as many as your keywords in the text in context as well. 

I don’t think the coding side will be pushed out like the meta tag was, simply because search engines need it as much as we need them. When they crawl the website, it needs to know where to look. I recently saw a SEO error, which said there was too many H1 tags so search engines may be confused as to what is the important title. Though I do believe the coding side will not weight much in your websites ranking, as the search engines want to deliver good content and the user wants good content. No one cares about the good coding as long as it functions, except a well functioning website will have good code.

I would think that the coding element of SEO will always be there, but I think the amount it counts to your websites rankings will slowly decrease, as the search engines look more at you content and presence across the web instead. The code can’t tell them if you are relevant to the users search but content can, though search engines can’t know what is the most important content without the code.

Responsive decided

The battle field was laid out and the fight between the quick, safe, easy  fixed viewport and the reliable, standard responsive viewport was a foot. Then walked in the boss… Google. Recently Google has decided which method you must follow to get good rankings on its search engines. Is it the best choose? And should Google get to decide?

Fixed or Responsive Viewport Post

I recently posted about both methods and how they both have their pro’s, but also their con’s. The fixed method was amazing for the designer and developer to get a design for all devices created then developed. This would then view flawlessly on all devices. The implementation of this was also simple with some simple JavaScript and the viewport. The trouble came when we cross browser tested it as some of the browser of some devices didn’t listen to the viewport in the same manner. We fixed the most popular browsers and made fixes for the others. This I always felt was a work around and not the best method, but it worked very well, much faster and meant we could give a true design to the client.

On the other hand we had the other method, which was to set the viewport to device-width. This meant we had to make sure the website worked in all device sizes. This then also meant we couldn’t have one true design, so it would come down to how we could make the website breakdown in a smooth creative way, that also looked amazing. The time to slowly do this and test on multiples devices takes longer, not much but enough to notice. It also relies on the developer knowing good design, good code and best practices. Then again it is worth it as it makes a better website I think and a better developer. If you can envision how the given design can breakdown over all the pixel range and still have a great design look then it shows you are a good coder.

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Now Google has decided and choose the full responsive viewport method for you. Recently Google Webmasters released a update that has a feature call ‘Mobile Usability’. In this section you can see any mobile performance errors on your website, which I have not been indexed for yet but I read the learn more link instead. In this they specify on what they will mark you on for mobile devices, as they want to give to the user the best website that not only has the best content, but is also the best to view. If you have the best information in front of you and can’t read it then the information become rubbish. For this reason you will have to go down the same method they have chosen.

Even though I have used the fixed viewport method for this website and some others, I believe Google is correct. They are looking to give the user a website that is user friendly and accessible. If you set the viewport at 767px and view it on a iPhone 6 plus, then the button will be for example 20px. If you view that same website on a iPhone 5 with a smaller screen, then that 20px button will be relative in size to 767px and so will be about 10px. This button is now not very user friendly. I think the other method is the quick fix way, but not the best way.

It does make me question why can you set the viewport to a fixed width then? What application would this be useful in?

Google’s New Rules