A bunch of folks, Google tells us, have studied thousands of Web pages to see what (X)HTML authoring techniques are most prevalent. Well, Google just completed another study like this, with a sample size of just over a billion pages, giving us a pretty definitive guide to what’s going on in the world of Web markup. Their writeup of the study’s conclusions is highly snarky and readable, and rather fascinating if you, too, are geeky beyond redemption (or if you have a hand in deciding what Web standards should be).
The heaviest snark comes into play in the writeup of how people use the
meta element, which usually contains the stuff they’re trying to highlight for the search engines. Saddest fact: a totally useless HTML expression (
<meta name="revisit-after">), invented for a defunct search engine nobody ever used, is more popular than the standards-beloved
<em> tag. Fun fact: The New York Times uses its very own HTML element,