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W3c Compliance; Does It Make That Much Difference?
Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:24 PM
Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:46 PM
As an example, Google is now indexing PDF and DOC files, which are hardly HTML 4.01 Strict.
Having said that, being fully compliant is a bit like building something to military specs - it probably doesn't need to be, but isn't it nice to know it is? And if you ever get into a situation where you do need it, it's nice that it's there.
I would actually be worried about non-google spiders not being able to properly index a non-compliant site. And of course users with accessability issues or non-standard browsers would have issues, as well.
I'd definately put it on the "to do" list, but perhaps rated a "B" instead of an "A". More important than a "C", though.
Posted 28 October 2003 - 10:52 PM
For more information on how the W3 works in an understandable site, check out Jeffrey Zeldman's sites:
Web Standards Project (WASP) or A List Apart
Posted 30 October 2003 - 02:41 PM
Actually, I recently (within the last 2 months) assisted a friend & fellow SEO conduct an experiment with a company which was redesigning their site, in an attempt to determine if this really made a difference. The criteria the site design had to meet were:
1) have all pages pre-optimized (META tags, keyword rich content, etc).
2) have all formatting info contained in a referenced .css file.
4) have all pages use 2 levels of nested tables, or less.
5) have all pages cleanly validate using the W3C validator.
As a result of meeting these criteria and having only the index page submitted to Inktomi (along with probably a bit of luck), the site was picked up, indexed & had achieved top 20 rankings for their primary search term in Google within 6 weeks.
Granted, there are a number of variables here, but having valid code seems to have been a contributing factor...
Posted 30 October 2003 - 02:59 PM
YaSO, the big importance of W3C compliance and validation is to make your web development future-oriented rather than backward compliant. Most of us who have been developing more than 3 months would recall that in the period of 1998-2000 when the big browser war was waged, it was almost impossible to follow the W3C guidelines because simply none of the major browsers were supporting the standards. Today the landscape is very different. Whether we like it or not, IE is almost universally accepted and even if ti not the best browser in the world it mainly supports W3C standards. Same with Opera, Mozilla, Netscape, etc.
The main challenge with W3C compliance is in fact in using CSS. More browsers support HTML 4.1 and XHTML 1.1 than supporting properly CSS. Even so, if you want your website to be prepared for the day when the new generation of browsers will come, try to follow the W3C guidelines. It won't hurt and might help!
After all, with the exception of web developers and early-adopters very few people willingly upgrade their web browsers. The majority of people upgrade their browsers when they upgrade their PCs/MACs. Having a well designed, standard-compliant website will have you prepared for the day of the change -- whether it happens in 4 months or 4 years.
Posted 30 October 2003 - 03:07 PM
It's like a coin toss - it's not supposed to matter if you choose heads or tails, but if you've just tossed heads 18 times in a row, I'd probably go with heads for the next toss.
If there is no difference, then it doesn't matter what you choose. But if there is a difference (ie it's a 2 headed coin or there is some other unknown change) then the smart thing would be to choose something in accordance with an apparent pattern (as long as there is a large enough sample to imply a pattern from).
Coins don't have a memory so the myth of it "catching up" is exactly that - myth.
Can't hurt, and might help, basically.
Posted 30 October 2003 - 03:28 PM
Posted 30 October 2003 - 03:35 PM
While lack of validation will probably not stop you from being listed by a search engine, it can make a difference for a number of reasons.
The closer you are to validating, the more likely that your pages are accessible to a wider range of browsers.
If you use CSS for formatting, and a browser doesn't choose the right mode based upon your document type definition, your page might look pretty ugly.
If you site can validate as xhtml 1.1 strict, then it probably is pretty accessible to text-to-speech or text-to-braille browsers.
Character encoding and language defining can help visitors who use other alphabets and language, by enabling their browser to choose the right character set.
Well formed HTML loads in browsers faster because the browser doesn't have to correct for errors, and it saves on bandwidth. For example, set heights and widths on your images.
Using standards means that multiple designers or developers can work on the same site, and not be surprised by odd html.
Using strict (x)html and CSS can result in smaller, cleaner pages that likely will download quicker, since your linked style sheet can apply to all pages and only needs to be downloaded once. That separate style file can be used to quickly modify a whole site.
Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:02 AM
im speaking mainly of tags such as
using <strong/> instead of <b/>
using <em/> instead of <i/>
and using tags such as <small/>
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