On-Page SEO Factors – Miscellaneous

We generally recommend focusing exclusively on the factors that we have specifically created a page for. However, there are several other on-page factors that could affect the search engine rankings of a site. Most of these additional factors will have an indirect effect on rankings, but they should be considered if you are doing a complete SEO review of any site.

Externalizing JavaScript and CSS

Including JavaScript definitions or CSS declarations in the source code of a page can negatively affect its rankings if done in excess. Although the negative effects are generally indirect, the effect can be direct in extreme circumstances. Almost all JavaScript and CSS definitions can be included within an external file, so there is no reason not to do so.

Another common issue that we come across is excessive comment tags or white space. Large blocks of comments and line breaks are often the result of server-side coding for dynamic pages. Like on-page JavaScript or CSS, these issues can negatively affect your search engine optimization in extreme circumstances. How do we define extreme? Well, having a couple dozen comments appear on a long page is generally not a problem. However, if the commenting and white space is adding hundreds or thousands of lines to all of your pages, then you should investigate how you might be able to eliminate the issue. It is usually possible for your dynamic pages to be set up so that comments or white space are stripped from the HTML when your pages are generated.

Please note that we said these issues will only have an effect on search engine rankings in extreme circumstances. And even then, it might not be a direct effect. Typically, the problem with too much JavaScript/CSS/comments is that your page load times are noticeably longer. Pages that take too long to load are generally not user-friendly and are thus less likely to develop inbound links naturally.

HTML Efficiency and Page Load Times

In the last section we stated that page load times can indirectly affect ranking because they have an effect on usability. For that reason, it is also important that pages utilize HTML as efficiently as possible. It is common for many sites, especially older ones, to use an excessive number of tables and old HTML styling elements (e.g. <font> tags) on their pages. You should strive to have a tableless CSS-driven Web site with the fewest number of lines in the page source as possible. Doing so will drastically decrease load times and improve the usability and accessibility of your Web site. Although this may not directly affect your site's search engine optimization efforts, it can improve the quality of your site in general.

W3C compliance – does it affect rankings?

The short answer to this question is no. We have seen far too many sites that are not W3C compliant to believe that it is a significant ranking factor. In other words, validating your pages will not directly improve your search engine rankings. However, there are some benefits from making sure that your site has valid markup, especially if you have declared an XHTML document type. XHTML pages are generally much cleaner if you validate them, which decreases load times. Secondly, validated XHTML documents render more accurately in mobile devices than older HTML document types. Accessibility to mobile devices is becoming more and more important as the number of smart phones continues to rise. Optimizing your pages for mobile browsers should be a priority if your site offers a service that people will search for while they are on the go.

Key Takeaways – Miscellaneous On-Page Factors

To sum up, here are some key things to remember in regards to on-page JavaScript/CSS, HTML efficiency and W3C compliance:

  • Externalize all JavaScript functions and CSS declarations that are currently on your pages.
  • You should try to create a tableless CSS-driven Web site with the fewest number of lines in the page source as possible.
  • W3C compliance does not directly affect search engine rankings, but you should try to make your pages as accessible as possible. No matter what doctype you declare, you should try to validate them according to W3C standards.
  • If your Web site offers a service that people may search for on the go, then you may want to consider changing your pages to XHTML so that they load properly in a mobile browser.

Home | Services | SEO Basics | Quote Request | Ask your Questions | Step-by-Step SEO Guide

Offering search engine optimization in the Los Angeles Area - Call us at 805.558.3542 for a free consultation or request a free quote.

© 2015 SEO Cipher. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Statement