Monday, January 5, 2009

Things That Google Ignores

There are some HTML attributes that Google pays no attention to when it goes through its crawling process. While you won't get penalized if you use these attributes, why waste your time with them if they're not going to count anyway?

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, as noted in the numbered list below. There are also some elements listed that you will choose not to include.

1. The keywords and description attributes of the meta tag. The keywords and description attributes are read by other search engines. However, the boost you get from having them isn't as much as if you follow the other techniques, such as proper link building. If you submit to Google only, you may not want to include the keywords attribute, but focus on a smart "upsell" or "positioning," "branding" of your message in the description attribute. Other search engines use them, so you should go on and include them.

2. The comments tag. The comments tag is an optional tag designed more for the website designer than for search engines or browsers. You use it to make personal notes related to what the upcoming coding does. It's especially useful if other webmasters are working on web pages that have been started by someone else. Still, it isn't a necessary tag, so you can omit it if you want.

3. The style tag. This tag has attributes that specify what your site will look like. This deals with styling of your page (CSS). If you're using extensive CSS, include the file as an external reference.

4. The script tag. This tag lets the browser know that a block of javascript code is about to be initiated. While Google ignores the information in this tag, it's still useful if you want to take advantage of javascript. You would use javascript when you want to run applets, special programs that run in a separate browser window. Use of this tag may or may not be optional, depending on what your site is for.

5. Duplicate links. If you have duplicate links to the same page, Google only counts the first one.

6. Interlinking to points on the same page. Interlinking involves picking a point on your web page called an anchor that you want another anchor to link to. This practice is commonly used when websites present very long copy on the same page. Readers can click on links throughout the document to jump to other parts of the document. It's very effective for increasing readability, but it's another optional device. Worst case, you could break up the copy and make more subtopic links.

7. Graphics, animation and video. Google pays no attention to these types of content, but it may notice the descriptive attributes surrounding them and certainly their URLs.

8. Boolean words. We discussed these earlier. They are words like a, an, the, is, etc. If you're optimizing for Google only, don't bother including these keywords.