There has been plenty of speculation that Google likes text closer to the top of a page. The one’s who speculate this generally cannot prove the theory without some doubt. It is a tough one after all. Many SEO’s have debated this for some time now and with good reason. Google likes text whether it begins at the top or half way down the page; just text and lots of it. I believe, it is more a factor of how you structure the keyword phrases within your text that helps decide the ranking outcome. What if the theory was close, though just not quite the way it is portrayed?
A little test that I performed a month ago has shed some light on this theory to some extent. Google does like text closer to the top of the page, but not necessarily how, you, the user see. Tests have shown that Google does like text closer to the top within the code, in preference to further down the page. This theory was discussed at the high rankings forum some time ago when the test began. The confusion was that people thought the text had to be close to the page top for what we viewed! Wrong. The search engine favour text close to the top in the code, not the page view.
Two pages where created identical in every aspect using CSS positioning for the two tables in each page. The pages were called “test1″ & “test2″, nothing alarming there. The first table held the header images, the second table all the text. So in essence the code would reflect that the header images are first, then the text. In “test2″, the tables where reversed so the table containing the text was placed first in the code and the images second. Being CSS positioned, the page remained looking identical with only the code being changed. Both pages are CSS positioned.
The search phrase used was “Anthony Parsons vs. Jill Whalen Test In Progress”, nothing personal. It was more a push from Jill, to prove my point with the test, after a discussion on how it could work to provide conclusive results. Thanks for the help and advice Jill. You can find the original discussion at http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=5055. The examples below are representative of the tests, though are not the actual pages.
The Page Code Had To Be Cut From This To Be Published & Can Be Viewed At The Below Forum Link
What’s so important about that you say? When I launched both pages, Google picked up “test2″. After having both pages to choose from, and we know that Google won’t index identical content, so it chose “test2″ over “test1″. Ok, that could of been because of the order Google found the pages? So, once indexed, I changed the folder name and swapped the links around so that the first link then pointed to “test2″ and the second link pointed to “test1″ (obviously being vice versa original). Guess what? After dropping the original index because the folder was non-existent as it changed names, it found the new folder and two pages swapped around from the original order and again indexed “test2″. Why?
The pages had no external links pointing at the pages to favour either page, only the link from my homepage itself. There was nothing to favour either page, simply a change of folder name that contained both files with the links swapped around. Google favoured the page “test2″ because the text was closer to the top of the page within the code. This demonstrated that CSS positioning, to have your page text closest to the top within the code, is the smart choice to make.
At the end of the day, this is only one of over the hundred assessed features that Google considers within indexing and ranking pages, but still an important one. Those who favour their website utilising CSS positioning or complete CSS design are ahead of the game automatically. Well over other pages that have its information buried deep within the page code. As we know, what you see is not what the code may reflect with CSS. This makes it the optimal choice to consider in the design stages and SEO of any website from this point forward.
Discuss this topic at: http://www.anthonyparsons.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=226
By Search Engine Optimization expert Anthony Parsons