Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Heading Structure and Google = Irony

I've been sitting here researching accepted practice for structuring your page headings.  What prompted this review is an SEO (Search Engine optimization) report for a clients site which suggests we remove the H1 element from the site title on all pages below the index page to improve page ranking.  There seems to be a lot of conflicting views on this and if you would like to get a feel for them and the issues involved I'd recommend reading "The Hard Facts About Heading Structure"; the comments are particularly useful. 

As a consequence of reading this (and many other articles) I found myself looking at all the article pages to see how they were actually structured.  For example, you'll notice that the page containing that article uses a H1 for the Sitepoint title and for the article heading.  Which seems a fair way to go to me.

Of course, all of this research is about SEO and all SEO is about getting a better page ranking in Google.  Consequently I decided to see how Google structures it's search pages and, you know, I got a bit of a shock.  Google.com uses no headings at all either on the entry page or the results page.  The very pages everyone is desperate to be mentioned on.  The very page that everyone is sweating over their heading structure for is the page that has none at all.  If Google was dependent on getting indexed based on semantic structure it would probably have a very poor page rank.  Does that seem ironic to you?
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