[pmwiki-users]SEO: Avoiding Headings in the SideBar

H. Fox haganfox at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 18:31:42 CDT 2005

[I know, I know...
Q: How do you cause hundreds of eyeballs roll?
A: Have Hagan post some Musings About Sidebar Headings to the
pmwiki-users list!  :-) ]

On 8/14/05, Hans <design at flutesong.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
> Sunday, August 14, 2005, 7:12:56 PM, Sebastian wrote:
> > In my opinion it is especially important for new users and part of
> > the ease of use that the sidebar is no complex special magic page but
> > a normal wiki page. Want a header or list? - Just do as you always do.
> I agree on ease of use, especially for new wiki authors.

How hard is it to cut and paste an existing divider?  Is this

  %p divider%[[PmWiki/PmWiki]]

that much harder than this?


If the heading is easier, is it easier enough to justify the (probably
unintended) outline mangling and lowering of search engine ranking.

> If <h1> is not good because of search engine optimisation,
> maybe <h2> or <h3> will be sufficient.
> Anything bigger than !!!! I find hard to use (count) :).

Again, cut and paste is your friend.

Consider some W3C recommendations:

* Headings denote importance.
* Skipping of heading levels is discouraged.
* <h1> is the main heading, and should be used only once in a document.
* The "I18N Article Style Guide" specifically suggests putting the H1
heading AFTER the sidebar markup.

Speaking of cutting and pasting...

 "Heading information may be used by user agents, for example, to
construct a table of contents for a document automatically.

There are six levels of headings in HTML with H1 as the most important
and H6 as the least...."
Some people consider skipping heading levels to be bad practice. They
accept H1 H2 H1 while they do not accept H1 H3 H1 since the heading
level H2 is skipped.

...it is important to use [headings] appropriately to convey document
structure. Users should order heading elements properly. For example,
in HTML, h2 elements should follow h1 elements, h3 elements should
follow h2 elements, etc. Content developers should not "skip" levels
(e.g., h1 directly to h3).

Long documents are often divided into a variety of chapters, chapters
have subtopics and subtopics are divided into various sections,
sections into paragraphs, etc. These semantic chunks of information
make up the structure of the document.

<h1> is the HTML element for the first-level heading of a document:

    * If the document is basically stand-alone, for example Things to
See and Do in Geneva, the top-level heading is probably the same as
the title.
    * If it is part of a collection, for example a section on Dogs in
a collection of pages about pets, then the top level heading should
assume a certain amount of context; just write <h1>Dogs</h1> while the
title should work in any context: Dogs - Your Guide to Pets.

Unlike the title, this element can include links, emphasis and other
HTML phrase elements.

The default font size for <h1> in some browsers have, unfortunately,
motivated many writers and tools to use an <h2> element in stead. This
is misleading to tools that take advantage of heading structure of

This "I18N Article Style Guide" specifically suggests to put the H1
heading AFTER the sidebar markup.
The following div should just be included as is immediately after the
sidebar markup:
Page heading

The h1 page heading comes next.

The h1 heading should have the first letter of all significant words

The h1 heading stands alone.


  Best: Don't use headings in the sidebar.
  Second Best: Switch to H5 and H6 in the sidebar
  Not Bad: Make it easy to remove headings without affecting the
sidebar's appearance.


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