Which is Better CSS-based Layouts or Table-Based Layouts? Google's Matt Cutts says doesn't matter… but…

http://i1.wp.com/blippitt.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/matt-cutts.jpg?resize=138%2C138

Google's Matt Cutts

Google’s Matt Cutts on the Google Webmaster Tools Help YouTube channel says that regardless of how you construct your site, either in a CSS-based layout or a Table-based layout, Google will be able to find and index your content.

Please keep this in mind that Cutts says in the video that regardless of which way your site is built Google will “try” and index it. Now with CSS-based layouts your code is cleaner and less cluttered. It’s been proven that the more cluttered your site is with extraneous code the hard it is for your Website to be indexed.

So when Cutts says it doesn’t matter and Google will “try,” don’t you think the more adventagous thing to do would be code in such a way that makes it easier for search engine robots to spider your site? I think so. What do you think? Watch the video and post your comments!

Seth Goldstein
Seth Goldstein is the Principal Creative Director at Goldstein Media LLC. He has been in the Web design and Internet marketing business for more than 10 years. A self-proclaimed technologist, Seth is addicted to all types of technology. He loves to help businesses of all sizes figure out the best way to use the Internet to grow their business.
Seth Goldstein
Seth Goldstein
  • http://twitter.com/mikeyil Michaelangelo

    Casting aside the simply fact that search engines shouldn't have to revisit their algorithms to accommodate archaic and deprecated markup, there are so many reasons not to use tables, I can't bring myself to do so – not for a website.

    Tables might make some sense on the level of linear, single-channel thinking but that's pretty much the only benefit. Even then, the people who'd most obviously choose to tables are doing so through a WYSIWYG.

    The deprecated use of the the table family of tags is flawed on every level besides simply SEO. Flexibility, extensibility & accessibility all suffer.

    Despite table-based design having the small benefit of having a reasonably intuitive build-structure, they're a huge pain to add/edit/modify. Extensibility? Deciding on table-based design is actively choosing to go down an archaic path. Table-based design promotes a dirty mix of content & deprecated html tags used to modify visual/look feel. That means your markup is all mucked up with unnecessary garbage and pulling down the pure content later on for some sort of redesign will be ever-more difficult.

    I believe in the pure separation of markup (HTML) and CSS. Design and information should be live apart.

    Now on the level of accessibility, text readers and devices aside from your standard web browser pretty much throw fits when you're using tables, simply put. This is something web designers really need to be more considerate of. We're designing not just for screen resolutions, but we should also consider mobile devices, text readers and also create print style sheets.

    All things considered, do we always have time to build our sites in a scalable manner so that one day we know we can scrap the CSS and not worry about it? Do we know if our markup can standalone and survive a back-end re-platform? Do we really have the time and budget to consider mobile devices, text readers and printing? Seldom, if ever. However, I'd rather do it safe and do it right the first time around.

    Leave tables to email newsletters.

  • http://twitter.com/mikeyil Michaelangelo

    Casting aside the simply fact that search engines shouldn't have to revisit their algorithms to accommodate archaic and deprecated markup, there are so many reasons not to use tables, I can't bring myself to do so – not for a website.

    Tables might make some sense on the level of linear, single-channel thinking but that's pretty much the only benefit. Even then, the people who'd most obviously choose to tables are doing so through a WYSIWYG.

    The deprecated use of the the table family of tags is flawed on every level besides simply SEO. Flexibility, extensibility & accessibility all suffer.

    Despite table-based design having the small benefit of having a reasonably intuitive build-structure, they're a huge pain to add/edit/modify. Extensibility? Deciding on table-based design is actively choosing to go down an archaic path. Table-based design promotes a dirty mix of content & deprecated html tags used to modify visual/look feel. That means your markup is all mucked up with unnecessary garbage and pulling down the pure content later on for some sort of redesign will be ever-more difficult.

    I believe in the pure separation of markup (HTML) and CSS. Design and information should be live apart.

    Now on the level of accessibility, text readers and devices aside from your standard web browser pretty much throw fits when you're using tables, simply put. This is something web designers really need to be more considerate of. We're designing not just for screen resolutions, but we should also consider mobile devices, text readers and also create print style sheets.

    All things considered, do we always have time to build our sites in a scalable manner so that one day we know we can scrap the CSS and not worry about it? Do we know if our markup can standalone and survive a back-end re-platform? Do we really have the time and budget to consider mobile devices, text readers and printing? Seldom, if ever. However, I'd rather do it safe and do it right the first time around.

    Leave tables to email newsletters.

    • http://www.sethgoldstein.net goldsteinmedia

      I agree. CSS is the way to make Websites to standard and a way to ensure usability. Until email is able to fully use CSS, keep tables to email newsletters is about the amount of Tables someone should be using.

  • http://www.sethgoldstein.net goldsteinmedia

    I agree. CSS is the way to make Websites to standard and a way to ensure usability. Until email is able to fully use CSS, keep tables to email newsletters is about the amount of Tables someone should be using.

  • http://www.seop.com/ search engine optimization

    I do go for CSS based for SEO perspective. Its cleaner and crawlers would love that.