HTML <title> Tag

September 18, 2008
You can find any number of individuals that refer to the importance, or lack thereof, of the character length of a <title> tag.

Although it may seem like the character lengths people recommend regarding a good <title> tag are arbitrarily tossed around, these numbers (for the good information sources) are based on sound advice.

W3C recommends a shorter <title>, supported by additionally clarifying and descriptive text in the <h1> tag. This recommendation implies the importance of <h1> and other heading tags, so why not use them?

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<title>: the most important element
of a quality Web page

The <title> element in HTML is designed to provide a short
piece of text that should stand for the document in cases such as:

  • window title bars
  • bookmark lists
  • result lists from search services

not too short

“Section One” won’t help much when it shows up in a search results
list. Section one of what?. Better: <title>Section
One of the Modern Music Guide</title>
or even better <title>Time Frame (the Modern Music Guide, Section 1)</title>

not too long

Because only 60 to 80 characters are displayed in many window titles,
menus, etc.; you can give a more detailed/pleasant title in the top level heading of your document, e.g. <h1>Section One: When has the Modern Time Commenced, Musicwise?</h1> (with a link to the whole Modern Music Guide for context).

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Separation of Duties

August 29, 2008
In Accounting, a primary principle to understand is the separation of duties. The function of this principle is to ensure that different functions maintain their individual goals, as well as acting as a security measure to guard against corruption.I hadn’t realized the parallel between my professional training and SEO until I read Duncan’s article. The same principle applies for nearly the same reasons. You want spiders to understand your content and navigate your code; the separation of code and content concept that he proposes is perfectly aligned with the function of Separation of Duties.

Also, the common sense application here is that you want to highlight your content, not hide it among the HTML: A really good point to keep in mind.

Chat Man

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Duncan Morris

Applying onsite seo to website template (or why separation of code and content is a good thing)

Posted by
Duncan Morris
on Fri (8/29/08) at 09:54 AM
Web Design & Usability

No matter what software pattern is used to code your webpage it is (and has been for a long while) good practice to separate the structure of a site from the presentation of the site. The HTML should contain no information about how to display the page. This should purely be the structure and semantic information required for the page. This is one of the major failings of websites that use tables for layout purposes, which in almost all situations has to place a lot of the presentational information within the HTML.
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HTML Validation Barely a Ranking Factor

August 26, 2008
I’ve always been of the persuasion that valid HTML code is quite essential to ranking organically, on any SE. Apparently, it possibly has less of an impact than I thought; my line of thinking was “If spiders read code and your code is bad, how can they read your site?”

Then again, I’ve primarily been focused on HTML coding – Does valid script or CSS coding have an impact?

What do you think?

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W3C HTML Validation and Search Engine Optimization

It has been a while since I have posted some of Virante’s research to the blog, and a good friend and former COO Bob Misita called me out on it. I figured I would release some of the data from a recent study we did on the relationship of W3C HTML Validation and web page rankings. Because validation is quite complex, we chose to take a macro-look rather than our traditional methodology of getting individual sites into the SERPs via sitemaps and then tweaking individual independent variables.

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Lang=En: The Weight of the World, for Now…

August 26, 2008

“Content Type: UTF vs US-ASCII”

A recent Google Group discussion focused on encoding discrepancies where Burt shared the following concern:


…I got a scare yesterday when I saw in webmaster tools that my perfectly valid XHTML site, encoded in UTF-8 was listed as have all its content in US-ASCII.

It seems that the webmaster tools (reports) (bot?) don’t react to the encoding in the meta header of the page itself, but only to the header the server sends…



John Mu replied with:

In the end, as long as you can see that we’re listing your keywords and your site properly in the search results, it’s probably ok regardless of what is shown in the statistics. So far, I have only seen 2-3 cases where we incorrectly recognized the text encoding — and in those cases, the pages didn’t render properly in my browsers either, so this is definitely something you would notice.

It seems that there’s no big deal with this, but my mind is always bent on the longevity of ‘good’ SEO decisions. As a non-programmer, how do I know that encoding standards won’t make any significant advancements tomorrow, next week, next year? Foundations change all the time.

Beyond that, I see global language barriers getting smaller. How do I make sure that my US English site doesn’t fall through the UK translation when it’s being read by a surfer in India? It may, or may not, make any difference, but when I think of my $1,000.00, $10,000.00, or even $100K shopper abandoning a sale because what I have to say comes across mis-translated, suddenly it all becomes very important.

Besides, would it really kill anyone if Burt just wanted a specific consistency between his code and what Google reads? And, since Burt’s site is in English and this problem, apparently, doesn’t matter too much because of that, should non-English sites have more concern over this kind of discrepancy?

Hmmm, I wonder… Do you?