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We will from time to time attempt to include information we have found to be useful as a guide to Search Engine Optimization, beginning with basic HTML principals.



Tuesday, August 09, 2005

SEO and Validation Tools

Developing proper standardized, validated code and documents requires specialized tools. The days when it was suitable to code line by line in Notepad, or another simple text editor, are largely gone. Today's businesses and customers require fast turnaround, and efficient debugging. This document is an overview of the necessary tools for effective search engine optimization and validation.

Although the vast majority of computers connected to the internet are Windows-based PC's, Apple and *nix-based browsers are enjoying a healthy increase in market share. Beyond this, cross-platform browsers (Mozilla, Opera, Firefox) are growing at a fast pace, and cutting-edge web technologies like AJAX might soon render the specific operating system irrelevant. The computer system used to develop proper websites is thus less important than it once was; any system capable of running the latest version of every browser, and a decent graphical manipulation program, should be sufficient.

In a PC environment, the newest versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox should be installed, and consideration given to also installing Netscape and Opera (which share a smaller market percentage).

In a Mac environment, the most recent versions of Safari and Firefox must be installed, as well as the Mac version of Internet Explorer.

Linux users should implement whatever browsers they can, including Firefox and ideally an emulation of Internet Explorer. Linux-specific browsers (Konqueror, etc) are also recommended, although these represent a very small percentage of the total number of browsers visiting a website.

Coding Software:
Many professional-level packages exist for website design, and most insert proprietary code and use often-confusing methods for obtaining certain layouts. The code produced by these packages often needs to be cleaned up, and in most cases does not immediately validate. Having said that, the authors of this website have used various versions of Macromedia's Dreamweaver in the past, and found it effective in certain capacities.

For complete control over code, Metapad is a free program available from, and seeks to improve upon Notepad in the Windows environment. Editplus, from is another program that is effective in this regard. HTML-KIT, available from, is a valuable program (when used correctly) for code validation.

Graphics Software:
Any sufficiently robust graphic application should suffice, ranging from the free GIMP ( to the professional-level Adobe Photoshop. Whatever graphics program is used, the user must have knowledge of how various filetypes are interpreted by the browser, and how to optimize image files for use on the internet. A significant number of internet users are still on low-bandwidth connections and will not sit idle while enormous graphics slowly download to form a website.

Beyond these programs, the online code validator at is indispensable for proper code optimization.

None of these programs are foolproof; all can be benefitial, but only if used properly and under the right circumstances. No program will substitute for the fundamental practice of TESTING, under as many different environments as possible. Methods of testing will be discussed in future articles.


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Mission Statement

In a world dominated by the internet, design and compatibility are crucial to a company's success. Care must be taken to properly and formally code a webpage, so it works across the board on a variety of systems, and is still fully compatible with the latest search and information management technologies. This weblog will teach designers the fundamentals of such coding, including the crucial need for proper validation, the methods in which one can create code which requires less debugging after the fact, and the methods in which Search Engine Optimization can be used to promote the stature of a company within a page of otherwise nondescript search results.





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