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google checks font size? what about css?

Posted on 2004-03-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-03

Hi All!

I recently read in a magazine article, and then found the same information in online articles the following:

Aside from PageRank and the use of anchor text, Google has several other features. First, it has location information for all hits and so it makes extensive use of proximity in search. Second, Google keeps track of some visual presentation details such as font size of words. Words in a larger or bolder font are weighted higher than other words. Third, full raw HTML of pages is available in a repository.

really??  I read this is a current print magazine, the online article I found was older.  I wonder if they are talking about the font tag?  I'm trying to use more CSS.  font size used with css also taken into account??  
Question by:linque
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Assisted Solution

DoppyNL earned 1000 total points
ID: 10665094
It's correct. They will check the font-size of your text.

If you make it extremely small, they might consider it as spamming.
If you make it extremely large, they might consider it as important and rank those words higher.

Google dus understand the font tag at the moment, and probably some simple CSS inline in your html.
I haven't heard of Google fetching seperate css-files. But I'm sure they will start doing that in the future.

Some advise: don't optimize your site in such a way that you are fooling the search engines, they will find out eventually and you may get banned. Just make a site wich is usefull for your visitors. Keeping in mind that it has to be crawlable by search engines and give them some hints about what is important on the page (place some keywords on logical locations (h1, h2, title, etc)) But don't overdo it.
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

duz earned 1000 total points
ID: 10665447
Hi linque -

>Aside from PageRank and the use of anchor text, Google has several other features

Several(!) - well over a hundred plus a few where the jury is still out.

>..it has location information for all hits and so it makes extensive use of proximity in search.

Google does make extensive use of knowing how users search what it does not do (factor in the algo) is calculate the relative frequency of hits of sites.

>.. keeps track of some visual presentation details such as font size of words

It can if it is computationally easy but it is not so important that you should worry about it. Use external CSS in a legitimate way and everything will be fine. When I say legitimate I mean don't try to use the CSS to produce things like hidden text with the idea of fooling Google. Although it is possible to do that quite successfully and avoid detection it is easily spotted by your competitors on visual examination and you may get reported. Getting reported can be bad news!

>..Words in a larger or bolder font are weighted higher than other words.

Not true in the strict interpretation if it were then all websites would be all in bold! Put text in bold (using your CSS) where it helps the user and you will be doing the right thing.

>..full raw HTML of pages is available in a repository

Yes, you can see what's there by clicking on the cached link in the SERPs and it's the contents of the web page at the time Google indexed it.

- duz

Expert Comment

ID: 10669693
I think you got it wrong. If you want to take advantage of the pagerank method, don't use the font or bold tags. Use things like <span style="font-size:larger/smaller;font-weight:bold/bolder;"> and/or <STRONG></STRONG> and <EM></EM> tags.  It's all about the style sheets, man!

Author Comment

ID: 10671393
I find this all quite amazing..  a *design* issue like font size affecting pagerank.  I wouldn't know how to try to fool Google very well even if I wanted to, since I'm just now learning how to get this done altogether, but it's just fascinating that the little detail are so important. What is interesting is the numerous ways one could ACCIDENTY do something in error, and never even KNOW about it.   Were it not for this article that someone showed me, I'd have been completely in the dark about this particular issue.  Thanks once again


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