Just a thought- Panda Update - Tables

  • pdrodriguez
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Is it possible that using tables for the layout of a page might be causing issues with search engine rankings?

Are tables still widely used or are they becoming cumbersome?
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I highly doubt that using tables would make you more susceptible the the wrath of the Google Panda Update.

Tables are the old way to web designing pages, there are much better ways now and I would advise only using tables for if you are actually creating a table of data. Tables should not be used for layout.

However with that said, Google knows that there are many pages that still use tables for layout and that does not necessarily mean they are bad websites. I believe the Google Panda Update was more about the quality of content throughout your website and if overall the quality tips the scale in the wrong direction, your entire website could be hurt.

Did you ever see the Search Quality Raters General Guidelines that were leaked awhile back? Google had a handbook of 125 pages that they used to explain the process to Google Raters on how to judge if a site is relevant, slightly relevant, off topic or useless, or unratable. I believe that Google has tried its best to mimic what the raters were voting for when coming across websites. Raters would not know or care if a website was creating using tables or divs for layout and I think most regular people wouldn't judge a website that way.
  • Tophead
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Post 3+ Months Ago

As Bigwebmaster said, Panda is usually about quality content and links. Tables would have nothing to do with Panda. Only that loading speed is also important for SEO, so try to make your website as fast as possible.
  • mit
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Post 3+ Months Ago

No doubt, that tables are still widely used however an old technique. And now we relate tables designing to Google Panda Update, then i appreciate you should read Panda Update again - its all about removing low-quality websites from the search engine results. Write quality content + getting quality backlinks for your website can provide you good ranking even if you have tables in your websites.

Good luck :)
  • ChrisRich
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The changes by Google are warranted and needed. For too many years people stuffed their keywords with anything they felt would get traffic to their pages – names of celebrities, hot news items, products that were completely unrelated. There was once a time when it was easy to find what you were looking for online, it was amazing. Then came all the unrelated material (as everyone wanted to make a quick dollar). The internet needs to be a place where you can easily find exactly what you are looking for, without have to climb over a heap of meaningless garbage that has nothing to do with what you want to see. Though the Panda update does create a bit more work, I think it will be for the best when it comes to real, relevant, related content – it will make for a better internet with a smoother user experience. I think that those complaining the loudest are the ones that caused the Panda update. If your pages are optimized correctly and you have relevant content related to the searches that got people to your page in the first place, you have zero to worry about. If you want a bunch of ridiculous anchor text driving traffic to your site you are only going to annoy people. Use organic seo services if you want your site's traffic to grow. It will take patience and time, but if you stick with the guidelines laid out by Google, you will see results – not immediately, but they will come.
  • GurusInc
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Tables can and often do limit your PR, depending on their structure.

I tested this extensively over a period of about a year, on numerous websites, when I was still doing a large amount of SEO. In fact, as my business shifted to almost exclusively copywriting and I was willing to expose some of my SEO secrets, the tables issue became a significant part of my book, "No Limits SEO!".

I can say conclusively that using tables incorrectly WILL have a negative effect on your PR. It may not be much, but in my experience, it can make the difference in a page 2 listing and a page one listing or the difference in a number 4 position and a number 1 position.

This affects Google and other search engines. On some search engines it can be rather significant.

There are ways to use tables, without that negative impact. But you have to always be watching what you're doing and be careful how your tables are structured. It's much better to just use CSS.

Note however that the same issues that apply to tables can also affect CSS pages. It's just that it's very easy to get around those problems with CSS.

BTW, after Panda, every site for which I did the SEO, that wasn't already number 1 on Google, went up in ranking by as much as 9 places for their primary keyword phrases (most between 2 and 5 places). This leads me to believe that Google likes well structured CSS-based pages.

But my research leaves me no doubt that poorly structured tables WILL most certainly have a negative impact on your PR.

John Gaver
"No Limits SEO!"
  • Austin80ss
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Post 3+ Months Ago

They are still using HTML tables instead of using CSS? *bad word*
  • ryanlb
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Post 3+ Months Ago

John, your trial-and-error with tables over a yearlong period sounds extremely interesting. Do you have any solid statistics you can share? I can definitely see poor tabling (among other formatting issues) being penalized, but the extent to which that applies to tables in general, or tables being (mis)used in certain ways, seems less certain.

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