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For the record, I don’t hate w3schools.
Apparently, a lot of people find their website useful. And from a human perspective, I’m happy for their success. After all, it’s run by one or more people, just like you and me, who have to feed their families.
But with everything we know w3school SEO and web development best practices, their ability to remain at the top of search results and also be in the top 200 most-visited websites in the world even after Google has made so many updates to their ranking algorithms, baffles us all.
In this post I’ll attempt to analyze a number of things about the w3schools.com website, both good and bad (mostly bad) and see if we can’t learn a few things and draw some conclusions. And keep in mind that not everything I discuss here has an impact on SEO – or ever will for that matter – but I thought this would be w3school nice case study for some general do’s and don’ts.
They Use Classic ASP Update (Feb. 13, 2014) Apparently, this is not correct. As comments have pointed out, and as pointed out on Hacker News, you can use the command line w3school an online tool to find out what technologies the site is built on. Evidently it’s ASP.NET on IIS. I knew it was possible to use whatever file extension they want. But I just didn’t think they would do that.
Why would someone use “aspx” pages and spoof the file names to look like classic ASP? SEO-friendly redirects should probably be used and they should just use extension-free URLs instead. But hey, it works for them, so whatevs. Seriously? In 2014? Even after a redesign a few years ago, their pages still w3school “.asp”, which is basically an extinct platform that w3school nobody uses anymore.
VBScript, the language used in most classic ASP pages, is #98 in the top 100 programming languages by popularity. I was a classic ASP developer for years, and it’s been about 7 years since I touched ASP, let alone coded it regularly. At the very least, couldn’t they reference directories with the “default.asp” hidden, to cloak this fact?
In addition, they still have an entire section devoted to classic ASP tutorials (although this is not currently featured prominently). Script Tag Madness The code from one of their pages is shown below. It loads at least 15 different script tags, only two of which load at the bottom. Don’t tell Paul. Having this many scripts load in the head without combining them w3school minifying goes against the fairly commonly known advice to reduce HTTP requests and put scripts at the bottom.
Interestingly, the generated source viewed in dev tools has 25