Content source ordering or SOC (source ordered content) is the idea that content nearer the top of the raw HTML source code has greater weight and meaning for search engines. For instance, a paragraph of text right at the top of the HTML source has more meaning than the same passage that may appear in the footer. It is very useful for those all too common generic menus (home, about, contact etc.) that has no SEO benefit at all, yet appears at the top of every page of your site. With SOC and absolute positioning of DOM elements, it is possible to position this HTML at the very bottom of the source code, thus gicing greater weight to your page content.
The latter is not a new idea by any means, but is generally considored to be a positive practice to implement on any site.
SOC and Ecommerce
The effect is compounded on ecommerce sites – sites that usually have a heavy template footprint. For example, a typical ecommerce site may contain a category listing with child categories in the form of a “mega drop down menu”, as they seem to to be coined. This is fine, as such menus do contain a lot of good keyword rich material that will be relevant to your site.
However, I have recently been experimenting a little on an ecommerce site I regularly perform SEO on, that does have a fairly beefy drop down menu. I have been focusing on product pages – I like to think of these as your most important pages and pages you’d want people to land on, as it tends to help conversions. In my eyes, any white hat technique to give greater weight and meaning to such pages is a good thing.
For the site in question I edited the source to force the top menu to the very bottom of the page and used absolute positioniong to force the top menu to the top of the screen for the user, when the page is rendered. I performed a similar action for the product description. As a result the important content i.e. the product title and description are now very close to the top of the page within the HTML.
Further Product Page Optimisations for SEO
Additionally I made a couple of other minor optimisations that I’ve noticed some bigger sites are using. At the top of the site in question, there is a company logo – a link, styled with a background using css. For the product page I amended this to a h1 tag with the product title within the header tag. I then used text-indent to hide this. Further down the page, I replaced the old header one tag (was further down the page previously, next to the product description) with a h2 tag and placed the product strapline within a h3 tag. So, the HTML for my company logo, for a product page is as follows:
<h1> <a href="/product-url.html">My Product Name Here</a> </h1>
I’ve been runing the above for a month now and have noticed the following trends in Google Analytics – I can’t be 100% sure this is directly down to the above though:
- Increased traffic to product detail pages from Google
- 1.2% increase in sales conversions
Over the next month I’ll be experimenting with replacing the logo with the category name, on my category listing pages too. I’ll update this post with my findings.
Have you had any similar experiences using the above, or similar?