Sorry about the poor subject line.
I did some searching on this forum and elsewhere trying to determine if the order of content within a page's HTML matters to Google (or other search engines for that matter). Is there more value/relevance placed on content near the beginning of the HTML than the stuff near the bottom of the page?
I ask because I have a 3-column site currently built using tables that has a long laundry-list type navigation menu that runs down the left side of the page and appears very early in the HTML. I'm working on a redesign and am considering positioning the menu using CSS but having the menu be the last thing rendered in the HTML. The idea is that the more "valuable" content appears much sooner in the page. Any thoughts on this and how it might impact how Google processes the page? I'm sure this is not a new concept and someone out there has tested the theory out a bit.