I had a nice email from a client late on Friday night saying that their website was on the first page of Google for one of their most important products. The site: House of Crystal. The search: glass trophies (note: this position may change in the future, so get ’em while they’re hot!).
The great thing about this is we’ve not done anything special with the site – it’s just plain HTML pages. However I built the site using web standards, which means the text on the pages has semantic value. That means Google (and other text-dependant ystems such as screenreaders) can tell easily which bits of text have different types of meanings. Meaning like “this is a heading”, “this is a paragraph”, “this bit should be emphasised” and much more.
It may be a minor point to some, and the number of web developers using web standards may be small at the moment, but I firmly believe this is the future of the web. And, in case you don’t think using web standards has much tangible benefit, look no further than House of Crystal – they’re on the first page of Google, and all with very little traditional SEO effort.