Will validating the HTML on my site's pages help me rank better?
 by Casey Markee

Will validating the HTML on my site's pages help me rank better?

  • I hear a lot about the need for our site to be W3C compliant, but I really don't know why we need to do this.

    What does this involve and are there really concrete benefits in Google for example in doing this?

Answer: Good web developers make it a point to code to the standards put out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The general consensus is that doing so results in easier to maintain code, faster load times, and increased site compatibility across multiple browsers. It also ensures easier access to your site by users of mobile devices (a vast and growing market) as well as those with disabilities.

Combined, those are all very compelling reasons to make sure your site uses valid code considering how much those all add benefit for your visitors. But does it result in concrete SEO benefits that impact your rankings in search engines?

Our conclusion is that, for the majority of sites, it does not. We've seen no indication that any search engine algorithm checks to see if a page passes the W3C HTML Validator when determining rankings.

Most of the sites on the web (including Google's homepage) contain validation errors. If search engines began to use W3C compliance as a ranking factor the search results would look very different than they do today.

Search engines are very good at ignoring errors in HTML code, and as long as you have a reasonably competent web developer working on your site, you shouldn't need to worry about validation—at least from a search engine perspective.

That said, there are a few SEO-related reasons you may still want to validate your pages...

  • Just to be safe — While search engines will forgive most minor errors, severely invalid syntax or broken code could hinder their ability to crawl your pages...

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