Does source ordering content have any SEO benefit? We say no.
 by Casey Markee

Does source ordering content have any SEO benefit? We say no.

  • We've seen some success from reorganizing page source layout to move the main content further up the source, and redundant content or non-optimized links to the bottom. When there are multiple links to internal URLs on a page, we want the optimized, contextual links to be "first", with the non-optimized navigation links coming after. I've heard some noise recently about source ordering not making a difference. What's your opinion?

Answer: We have to agree with the "noise" on source ordering. Other than making sure you have LESS CODE on the page for the Googlebot to review, source ordering doesn't provide much SEO benefit (if any).

Now, that may not have been the case five years ago (when Google had a crawl limit of 100KB per page) but it absolutely is now (since Google can crawl pages of multiple MBs in coding easily).

In short, putting links and content "higher" in the code has LIMITED effect on SEO (especially since you can use CSS to do this REGARDLESS of where elements display on a page) and it can lead to horrible accessibility issues if you screw it up (i.e. - Using CSS to change the display order of content without also changing the order in the HTML source).

Finally, with the move globally to an accepted HTML5 convention, its use effectively makes source code ordering irrelevant. With the use of semantic codes like < article > to denote body content elements and < nav > to denote navigation or < audio > and < video > instead of < object > tags, a parsing application can easily find any content on the page (and present it in any order) ...