Are HTML tables bad for SEO?


Solution 1

As far as SEO is concerned, search engines do not care. However, the idea is to separate design from content. Tables should strictly be used for tabular data, divs for layout. Using tables for design purposes mixes your markup with layout elements, which is regarded as bad practice.

Solution 2

HTML tables are good:

  • displaying table-like date

Non-tabular data presented as HTML tables are bad for:

  • physically challenged people because they have to use screen readers (which do not work very well with nested tables)
  • search engines prefer sites which are made for people and accessible sites are one of them

To see your site as search engines try to visit it with text browser like ELinks or lynx.

Solution 3

It's been said before, and I'll say it again.

Tabular data - Use tables

Layout - Use Divs

I have a layout where I'll use more div structure to achieve something made simple with a table..

Sounds like you're trying to cut corners or make it easier for you to finish the job. In any case, there are a few exceptions where using a table might be crucial but without viewing what the design looks like, I can't say.

Solution 4

Google doesn't care for ranking purposes what your code looks like. They only care that your visitors react well to it.

As long as your site works for your users there are no penalties from Google for how you structure your markup.

On the other hand, when users find your site unappealing, or when it doesn't work for them, they leave. Google does notice when users come back to the results page after visiting your site and click on your competitors. Your rankings fall when that happens

Solution 5

<table>s vs. <div>s will have little or no effect on your SEO results. However, putting titles and keywords into your <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.. tags will help.


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Updated on June 10, 2022


  • Admin
    Admin 11 days

    A lot of designers discourage the use of tables but I have a layout where I'll use more div structure to achieve something made simple with a table..

    Are tables bad for search engines?

    edit: I will use CSS for the table to keep the HTML clean.

    • Gabriele Petrioli
      Gabriele Petrioli over 11 years
      Can you describe your need so we might suggest alternatives to tables (if needed).
    • Admin
      Admin over 11 years
    • JamesRyan
      JamesRyan over 11 years
      and yet the same snobs are quite happy to misuse lists for page menus! Tables are by definition to do with layout, not content. It is not a spreadsheet tag. There are many dynamic layouts that are impossible to do with css but possible with tables. A lot of people take the shortcut of having a fixed width page but this is far worse for accessibility. Yes content should be seperated from layout but this is not a reason to rule tables out in a knee jerk reaction. Using them where appropiate is perfectly acceptable.
  • Phil C
    Phil C over 11 years
    Note of course, that screen readers approach the web page from a very similar angle to that of search engine bots.
  • Admin
    Admin over 11 years
    -1 for not answering the question.
  • Admin
    Admin over 11 years
    sorry, I didn't mean layout. It's for entries. I guess tabular data
  • Admin
    Admin over 11 years
    -1 for not answering the question - the question is not talking about optimal design of the website, or even good practices. It is purely focused on "Does it impact SEO?"
  • Danubian Sailor
    Danubian Sailor over 8 years
    I don't see how this answers the question. OP asked about SEO impact, so everything below second sentence is a noice, and the first 2 are too little for answer.
  • Danubian Sailor
    Danubian Sailor over 8 years
    Sounds like a speculation for me, not an answer.
  • Pascal Qyy
    Pascal Qyy almost 8 years
    I was taught that providing a solution when talking about a problem is a far better way that talking negatively and aggressively as you do. So, through the solution I provided, I think that it's easier to see how and why tables are bad for SEO. IMHO, no, it's not noise (noice = noise ?), it's a manner to prove my point, and provide solution to a problem by the same occasion.