Search Engine Optimization With Standards

Search engine optimization and marketing has just taken a new turn and 99% of the SEO and SEM experts are not even aware of it. The big problem is this took place in 1996 with the introduction of Cascade Styling Sheets or CSS. Then came XHTML replacing HTML as the mark-up code we use. About that time ESPN researched the advantages of this new way of doing things and redesigned their website using pure CSS and XHTML. I wish that I could say that they came to their senses and embraced web standards because it was the future of the web but that would be a completely wrong statement. It was pure greed that convinced them to make the switch. In 2000 ESPN was averaging 10 million visitors a day and the switch saved them about 1 million dollars a month in bandwidth costs. Soon afterwards CNN made the switch, then adobe and the list goes on.

Thanks to Jeffery Zeldman and his book on web standards I was able to make a complete list on the reasons for a designer not to use web standards and bringing the sites they maintain into compliance. It is a short list, only 5 items long but I could not think of any other reasons.

  1. You get paid by the hour.
  2. You enjoy creating multiple versions of every page for every conceivable browser or device.
  3. The little man in your head told you not to.
  4. You are quitting the web business.
  5. You don't know the rules of web standards.

We can't do anything about the first 4 but fortunately, we can do something about #5. Anyone that is willing to change and learn about web standards there are hundreds if not thousands of books that cover this subject. A far as what I can accomplish using CSS is far more than can be done using conventional wisdom. This will also give you an added bonus of placing you higher in the search engines thus increasing your customer base. You will be able to reach more visitors with less work and at a lower cost. This increase in sales will more than cover the cost of a redesign many times over.

One of the best reasons so far to use standards is its forward compatibility and the ease at which a web site will adapt to new technology. The web is changing every day and we have to make it easy to change with it. There is nothing worse than spending 3 or 4 days working on integrating a new idea into the website when if it was done correctly the first time it is a one hour job.

There are far too many advantages to standards than I have room to list. If you want your site to be in the top 1% of all websites and rank higher in the search engines, call or email me and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. After all web standards will not go away.