The implications of the idea of automatic segmentation of web pages are centred around the retrieval and presentation of information. As a result they are implications both for designers (who already know about them) and SEO companies too.
So first up – what actually is automatic segmentation of web pages? In plain English, it’s all about dividing a web page into blocks (they can be nested as well as in discrete locations), each one of which contains a set of information. For example, a newspaper style website will have a block at the top containing header information., then a block in the middle containing information about its main story, then possibly a block at the side or further down containing information about its secondary stories.
For design and SEO terms, the principle issue here is where search engines cannot distinguish between a dominant block and a non dominant one – between the body of information the page has been created to provide, and (for example) a bunch of ads appearing with it. If a search engine is unable to make that distinction it cannot and will not rank the page highly – because it can’t tell what it is about.
There are some quite refined examples of this kind of ambiguity – for example on a site that delivers a page containing legal information about its owner, but which also features a news article about law or some other piece where law is the main thrust. The SEO implications of a search for “legal info” or “legal details” using the proprietary name of that site are complex – which page is better suited to the searcher, or in more strict SEO terms, what optimising slant can be given to each page to make sure a searcher finds the right one?
The capability of a search engine to divide a web page into blocks can, to a pretty large extent it seems, defuse this ambiguity. By defining a certain block on a page as its main thrust, the search engine is able to give more weight to the information contained there – and so is more likely to deliver a useful and meaningful result to the person doing the searching.
The design implications of this technology are clear. If search engines are looking for the main block in order to define the content of a web page, then designers need to make it absolutely clear what block should be looked at. This means strong visual arrangement of information as well as the right tagging and coding – another move towards recognising the ability of search engines to work like human brains.
The SEO company’s remit, then, spills over into design in a more immediate way than ever before. Now it effectively has rights to advise on the actual visual makeup of a page as well as the way the coding of a page is arranged. And as the search bots get more and more human, the lines between SEO advice and design will blur even more.
Author Bio: The above article is composed and edited by Donna B. She is associated with many SEO Companies as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to SEO, Social Media etc.