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I recently put my site through the W3C html validation process and needless to say validation failed on most of my pages as I failed to adhere to the strict guidelines of HTML 4.01 Transitional.
I have since gone through and cleaned up all of the code so that it adheres to the W3C standards for HTML, and I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on the potential benefits of such an action.
Does Google reward sites with "perfect" coding over those that may not conform to strict validation standards (aka, missing some alt tags, etc)? I was always under the impression that Google loves "Mom-and-Pop" sites, which may not have the resources to hire out a web designer. Do you think improving the html code will help my site out in the SERP's? And if so, is this effect significant enough to merit hiring out a professional web designer?
Looking forward to hearing your opinions on the subject.
It is a good thing what you did as now whatever browser your site is viewed from you can feel confidant it will present itself as designed, in most cases.
I feel I have gotten a boost from clean coding from MSN more than Google or yahoo.
What you did to clean your coding up is Not about the rankings but is about taking pride in your work.
- Help increase repeat visitors.
- Increase the likelihood of getting a link from an authority site.
There are probably many more benefits, but these two stand out in my brain (besides pride of ownership).
But Google absolutely does not currently rate a site by how valid the code is- many spokespeople form Google have said this, many times.
What are these problems? Things like an unclosed quotation mark or a missing angle bracket on a tag. You can stare for hours at your source code and miss that kind of thing. But until you fix that kind of error, there is a section you intended as content that just looks like an invalid attribute, or something like that. Browsers have different error recovery routines, and just because the content displays on screen is no guarantee that Google's index will "see" it as content.
Eventually Google's error recovery routines may pick up a clue farther along in the code - and after that point, the rest of the page can be indexed. But there can easily be a gap, sometimes with important content, that just gets skipped. I speak here from painful experience.
Cleaning up the code won't help your site in the SERPS but it will help via page load speed
I don't think that's the case. Pages that validate have - in most cases - more code than those which don't validate. That's probably the main reason Google homepage doesn't validate at all...
If I was to go through the site and change every <tag/> to <tag> </tag>, could this actually improve the ranking of the page?
I only mention this because in another thread, the front page "bullet" in the source was affecting someones results.
Also - the cleaner the code the site should work more efficiently across different platforms so you can never go wrong having good code.
What WYSWYG is just fine. Spend the time creating content rich pages and getting good neighborhood links.