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Site change, no W3C errors, rankings up
Rlilly




msg:4277937
 7:08 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

A site in my niche recently changed. the new site checked "This document was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" Thier old site had over 60 errors.

For a extremely competitive word, they moved from position 12 to 6.

Could this be a factor now in Google's algo?

 

tedster




msg:4277970
 7:51 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are few absolutes when it comes to understanding Google's ranking algorithm - but I'd say this is one of them. Google ranking does NOT depend on W3C validation and it's very unlikely to ever do so.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4277976
 8:02 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

It may be that their markup errors were bad enough for the Google parser to skip part of their text (i.e. thinks it is part of an open tag)

JohnRoy




msg:4277984
 8:15 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Site change, no W3C errors, rankings up

Site change, rankings up!

It's good to validate, but the reason for ranking approval is due to the site change. They worked on the site - look for other on-page or off-page tweaks.

imbckagn




msg:4278028
 9:23 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

How long did it take for the change to occur once the "changes" were made?

Rlilly




msg:4278030
 9:25 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Within 10 days!

imbckagn




msg:4278095
 1:13 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well I'm confident it wasn't the WC3 validation that made the website jump it was the redesign. I tested the WC3 validation myself and it didn't make a difference.

What's interesting to me is that the other changes what ever they were only took 10 days to push the website up.

I have a pretty big test running myself right now and if it gives positive results I will start a thread.

indyank




msg:4278134
 3:06 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

imbckagn, we just can't wait to hear from you on what helped the recovery.Did you loose ranking due to this new algo and have you recovered after making those changes? What are they?

rhornsby




msg:4278144
 4:15 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the site is validating, it likely means the site is loading faster as well. And Google has been very clear that site speed is an important factor nowadays. So collaterally, yes, the validation is likely helping its ranking.

tedster




msg:4278225
 9:43 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen either of those points work out in practice.

1. Google has only verified that site speed is currently "a" ranking factor - not "an important factor". Matt Cutts mentioned that it only comes into play for a small percentage of all searches.

2. I also haven't seen W3C validation making a significant difference in page speed. Validation is not even included as a page load factor in either the Y!Slow tool or the Google Page Speed tool.

rhornsby




msg:4279268
 1:25 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Validation is directly related to rendering speed. And rendering speed is calculated by how fast a page loads. And considering Google has a "Site performance" tool in Webmaster Tools; you can bet it is an important issue to them.

Swanny007




msg:4279309
 2:31 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that site got a boost because of Google's recent Panda update?

tedster




msg:4279385
 5:19 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

@rhornsby, please do not pass on misinformation like that - no matter who you learned it from. If you test any of those assertions yourself you will immediately see they are not true.

TheMadScientist




msg:4279387
 5:25 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

And considering Google has a "Site performance" tool in Webmaster Tools; you can bet it is an important issue to them.

The same logic could be used to say Yahoo! considers speed to be a hugely important factor too since they provide ySlow, except they don't do their own search results any more ... I think tedster is right (as usual) and unless there's evidence these things (especially validation) are impactful factors (I can provide plenty of cases where it's not) then it's probably bad to get another seo myth started.

If you want to try and refute the 'HTML Validity Does Not Matter' argument the JCPenny & Overstock rankings before they were both penalized disagree with you, strongly ... Feel free to run a validator on their code ... Been there, done that, and obviously (to me anyway) it doesn't matter if your code validates or not.

JohnRoy




msg:4279393
 5:35 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

another seo myth started

This myth started long ago.

so-called seo's still provide their clients 'in-depth reports' - validation one factor in the rundown.

The more validation errors they find - the more they can charge to boost ranking ;)

robzilla




msg:4279478
 9:19 am on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Although we do recommend using valid HTML, it's not likely to be a factor in how Google crawls and indexes your site.
Source: [google.com...]
nomis5




msg:4279560
 12:59 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

And who says that valid html always results in a faster loading page? Pictures and videos take the majority of time to load, the rest is small in comparison.

dstiles




msg:4279906
 9:40 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is one scenario I can think of where downloaded page validation affects "load time" but if it's a factor in google's algorithm then google is even more dumb than I already think they are. Especially as their own scripts slow down "load time".

If you run Firefox with a Validation extension installed AND TURNED ON FOR THAT SITE then the page may take a while to validate before it is completely rendered. I always turn off the validator for sites I'm not connected with (ie not mine).

Of course, the delay will only be reported to google if the page or browser has a google widget such as GA on the page or GTB enabled in the browser. The first one I have permanently turned off, the second I wouldn't dream of installing.

PCInk




msg:4279912
 10:09 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's own homepage doesn't validate and they have very good reasons for that too.

I can't see the validation being the issue, not unless it was tripping GoogleBot up somehow. Poor robot.

g1smd




msg:4279925
 10:40 pm on Mar 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

There's a world of difference in non-validating code using a deprecated element or value, and that which is so badly malformed it causes part of a page to not be indexed or some links on the page to not be followed.

rhornsby




msg:4279980
 1:53 am on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, Matt Cutts new GoogleWebMasterHelp video specifically addresses the speed issue today. So like I said, "collaterally" validation can help ranking as it is related to speed.

tedster




msg:4280007
 3:12 am on Mar 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

who says that valid html always results in a faster loading page?

A browser's error correction routine might add a few milliseconds to the page load time - depending on what those errors are. Latency in DNS look-ups will add more than that, and essentially swamp the error correction time out of detectability.

Test it for yourself with two versions of a page hosted on the same server. Then run one of the page speed tools several times on each version. You won't be able to isolate the effect of invalid mark-up in those test results.

Here's our coverage of the speed issue when the tools first became news The Need for Speed - Google shares help and research [webmasterworld.com]. There is a world of information available by following the reference links in that thread.

But none of the page speed tools, or the research itself, or the books published from that research, ever measure or even mention coding errors as a speed factor. Google Webmaster Tools does not mention it. Even Google's own pages do not all use valid code - their home page currently triggers 36 errors on the W3C validator.

In fact, you probably could improve page speed by removing the quotation marks from around all your attributes - and that would actually turn valid mark-up into invalid mark-up.

The engineer who did the bulk of the research on page speed is Steve Souders. He has two books in print on the topic and I recommend both of them. The original research was done while he was at Yahoo and resulted in the YSlow tool. Then he was hired by Google and became their "Performance Evangelist" and helped push out Google's own Page Speed Tool.

PCInk




msg:4282118
 7:40 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, Matt Cutts new GoogleWebMasterHelp video specifically addresses the speed issue today. So like I said, "collaterally" validation can help ranking as it is related to speed.


And another video today answering if valid HTML helps you rank better. Is HTML validation necessary for ranking? [youtube.com]

The answer is no, it doesn't.

[edited by: tedster at 7:49 pm (utc) on Mar 15, 2011]
[edit reason] Added a link to the video [/edit]

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