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W3c Validator!


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34 replies to this topic

#16 mcanerin

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 07:54 PM

Of course, keep in mind that for SEO purposes, the time it takes to layout a table in Firefox, IE or whatever really isn't an issue to a text only spider. Once again, back to the original question, for SEO purposes, it's not really that important.

Just because something isn't important for SEO doesn't mean it's not important or useful for anything else (like usability, etc).

SEO is not the be-all and end-all of the web, contrary to what some search fanatics may think. Just like validated code isn't the be-all and end-all of the web, contrary to what some W3C design fanatics may think.

The thinking is that most of the W3C validation issues revolve around display and design, whereas search engines (and therefore search marketers) concern themselves with content and only the markup that directly affects that content in text only mode. Content is the king in SEO, not design.

There are some validation issues that affect content in text-only mode, and SEO's care deeply about the validation of those, because that's the focus. There are SEO's who are *also* designers, and of course in the designer role they care about validation, etc. But in their designer role.

Perhaps that's how it should be. Do you really want (to use an analogy) your doctor or accountant giving you fashion and makeup advice? Or should they focus on what they know best and are being paid to deal with?

Ian

#17 Dimmerswitch

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:31 PM

QUOTE(mcanerin @ Oct 13 2007, 07:54 PM) View Post
Of course, keep in mind that for SEO purposes, the time it takes to layout a table in Firefox, IE or whatever really isn't an issue to a text only spider. Once again, back to the original question, for SEO purposes, it's not really that important.


Very fair point, and I hope I didn't come across as trying to hijack the thread. While I kick all kicks of booty at markup and css, I have only a rudimentary understanding of SEO. I appreciate the wealth of knowledge on these forums, and just want to contribute in areas where I have expertise.

QUOTE(mcanerin @ Oct 13 2007, 07:54 PM) View Post
SEO is not the be-all and end-all of the web, contrary to what some search fanatics may think. Just like validated code isn't the be-all and end-all of the web, contrary to what some W3C design fanatics may think.


Definitely in agreement here. Having a site which gets a ton of traffic but is bad enough that users don't stay will be just as commercially (un)successful as having a finely-polished, highly usable website that has no visitors.

#18 projectphp

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 10:20 PM

The parser is a bitch for any SE to write, as HTML is close to the worst code, in that it renders with horrendous errors.

I have seen a multitude of errors and "quirks" cause SEO isues of the years, from a site that had links in this fornmat: <a href= /somepage/ > - and inktomi refusing to see the links (putting them in quotes solved the problem), to a site that had its whole main content rendered invisible by a missing >, to a site that had backslashes in a URL variable (e.g. example.com/page.php?page=/somefolder/somefile.something) not having pages picked up by Google.

The validator can certainly help diagnose an issue, but in some cases, a totally valid page might still have a problem (the backslash example comes to mind). Valid is usually better, and uyes, sually means "not always" smile.gif

Edited by projectphp, 14 October 2007 - 08:03 PM.


#19 piskie

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 01:03 PM

Certainly in the UK, there could one day soon be a Web Site "Fit for Purpose" issue with a Trading Standards case.

Imagine if any other tradesman did a job for you and you found that the result did not comply with the accepted (or required) industry standards. Plumber, Electrician, Plasterer, Car Mechanic and so on. Would you accept the reply "That's good enough because it still works fine" and then happily pay the bill.

There is not much difference in the time and effort required to produce code that validates and non-compliant code. It even aids Cross Browser Compatibility and can save time debugging display issues.

So why do so many vehemently defend their "Non Compliant" work (some may say shoddy work) that they Invoice and take payment for ??

#20 mcanerin

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 06:17 PM

QUOTE
So why do so many vehemently defend their "Non Compliant" work (some may say shoddy work) that they Invoice and take payment for ??


To be perfectly clear, I don't think a designer should present a client with anything less than the best coding available, any more than an SEO should bill a client for building crappy links or titles.

But it's not an SEO's job to validate the code, fix the Flash, comment on the color scheme or change the lightbulbs. It's an SEO's job to SEO. That means making sure that a site "validates" for search engines.

I think that comment is a very good point and needs to be heard - in designers forums. I'm not so sure that an SEO is doing a bad job if they get the site to rank #1 but it doesn't validate. I think that's an issue of a designer doing a bad job, not an SEO.

To use your analogy, should the plumber be responsible for the electrical wiring? Only insofar as the wiring that affects them, such as the power to the water heater, or whatever. But they should not be doing an inspection for termites, or testing the fusebox, or testing the fire alarms, or measuring the backyard to make sure the fencelines are built in accordance with the city plans. I'm not saying that any of these things are unimportant, I'm saying that you should not be suing your plumber over them.

I also don't check to see if the graphics a site uses are properly licensed - I just mention in the contract that those types of issues are the website owners responsibility. That doesn't mean I support content theft in any way! See what I'm getting at?

Ian

Edited by mcanerin, 14 October 2007 - 06:25 PM.


#21 projectphp

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 09:09 PM

QUOTE
It's an SEO's job to SEO.

If that is all you do, yes smile.gif

QUOTE
Only insofar as the wiring that affects them

In many cases, SEO is kinda pointless without other changes as well, and what "...that affects (SEO)" is can be many, many things. Examples: Cart doesn't work, contact details are hard to find, site is ugly as sin, value propositions are pointless.

SEO is a subdet of marketing a site, and I think many people hiring SEOs really want an online marketting person, i.e. a "make my website work" person. If I want SEO to be measured by something other than 15 specific keyword rankings (and I do), then I need to make those KPIs, things like sales, contacts, leads etc, rise. Increasing traffic via search might achieve that, but so might adding a "contact us" button on pages.

Limitting advice to pure SEO sometimes has the long-term problem that people who make regular changes will undo things. I have seen clients remove trillions of things, from analytics code, to conversion code, to home pages (well they renamed and redirected it, anyway). Sometimes, helping a business better manage how they update their website has the best SEO results of all.

That is the big problem with SEO, as oppossed to PPC, that it requires so much buy in.

Back to the valiator, if validating code can help avoid problems, explaining how to use it, and why, can have positive SEO benefits. Or as I heard it put (as a fake "as Sun Tzu said" 'cause then people listen): It is easier not to do a dumb thing than to do a smart thing.

#22 mcanerin

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:32 AM

For me personally, you are preaching to the choir - I not only validate, but I check DNS records, accessibility guidelines, database response issues, analytics and tons more. Sometimes I ignore some of the recommendations of these, however - if it makes sense for the client and their visitors. I tell them the issues and let them decide.

I'm not sure that I'd want to say that someone billing themselves as an "SEO" would be bad or incompetent because they are not experts in IIS server redirect functions, or whatever. Although you could make a case for almost anything to overlap, at a certain point there has to be a separation between church and state, or between SEO and Design. And Programming. And Database management, etc.

I guess I'm concerned because I've had more than a few potential clients come to me with these "sky is falling" reports from fly-by-night firms that inform them that their sites don't validate and they need to hire that firm right away to fix it, or they will lose all their rankings, visitors, hair, etc.

Then you look at the validation results and it turns out that they forgot to put alt attributes on the invisible spacer gifs on their page. This is not an SEO emergency, and yet the validator will happily report dozens of these "errors".

I don't like to use automated programs to tell me how to do SEO. Ever. But that's a personal opinion.

Ian

#23 piskie

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 09:25 AM

On this Forum we are constantly told (almost preached) that the results in the Logs are more important than SERPs positions. Well if a site does not validate and the designer only previewed in IE 7 for example, there could be a bucket full of Browser rendering issues causing "Single Page Visits" or Bounces.

Code that Validates will help to minimise the squandering of visits due to Browser Compatibility. So to ignore Non Compliant code could be missing a means to increase the effetiveness of a site.

The other side of the coin is that not every member of this Forum is an SEO only.
Many including myself have, in addition to SEO, responsibility for Graphics, Copy Text, Site Structure (including Navigation), Page Coding, CMS etc. In other words everything from the original "Clients Needs Analysis" meeting through to hopefully a commercially successful site.

I am not suggesting that this Forum should dilute it's focus by having a multitude of Code related Topics, but surely it is just a professional approach to Willingly acknowledge that Validation and Compliance is a Good Thing and that even pure SEOists should try to facilitate the removal of compliance errors by flagging up to whoever has overall responsibilty for the Site.

#24 mcanerin

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:23 AM

Since you took the time to capitalize it and everything wink1.gif I'll do that, publically and personally (I can't speak for the whole forum, of course). The key wording here is the facilitate and flagging part, which makes it acceptable to me personally, since it doesn't attempt to force SEO's be be designers, etc:

"I, Ian McAnerin, Willingly acknowledge that Validation and Compliance is a Good Thing and that even pure SEOists should try to facilitate the removal of compliance errors by flagging up to whoever has overall responsibilty for the Site"

I'd also like to suggest that there should be a reciprocal statement:

"Designers Willingly acknowledge that Search Friendly Design is a Good Thing and that even pure Designers should try to facilitate the spiderability of the websites they design and to flag non-search engine friendly issues to whoever has overall responsibilty for the Site"

Well, I've extended an olive branch, anyone willing to take it?

Ian

#25 piskie

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:48 AM

I'm 100% with you Ian.

#26 Jill

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 12:27 PM

I don't think that anyone here has ever said it's not a good thing to strive for. We just don't want any scenario such as the one Ian described above to happen to an unsuspecting site owner.

#27 Dimmerswitch

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:46 PM

I think that reliance on scare tactics ("Invalid HTML will destroy your business!!!", "Not ranking #1 for term x will destroy your business!!!") is a reliable indicator of an organization you don't want to do business with.

In my experience, folks who do quality work (in any field) don't need to frighten people into becoming clients.

#28 Fresh

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 09:41 PM

Speaking of validation, I am creating a simple web site in FrontPage 2000. Is it important to add DOC TYPE validation code to the top of each page? If yes, how do I find the right code? The site does not have any frames or CSS.

Thank You.

#29 1dmf

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:58 AM

fresh -> W3C has all the doctype declarations for you, just search for doctype on their site.

The one I use (X/HTML Strict 1.0) is as follows....
CODE
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">


If you fail to supply a doc type, it usually throws the browser viewing the page into 'Quirks Mode' and can cause a lot of display issues.

#30 Catz

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE(Fresh @ Jan 3 2009, 08:41 PM) View Post
Is it important to add DOC TYPE validation code to the top of each page? If yes, how do I find the right code?

It is useful to have a DOCTYPE, but not required for your page to show up. It is required if you want to validate your code with the validator.

QUOTE(Fresh @ Jan 3 2009, 08:41 PM) View Post
I am creating a simple web site in FrontPage 2000. The site does not have any frames or CSS.

Since you are "creating a simple web site" in FrontPage 2000, you might need to go with an HTML DOCTYPE rather than XHTML strict. FrontPage has plenty of coding issues of it's own, plus as you mentioned, you don't use CSS.

An older program like that will be using deprecated elements and attribute that XHTML doesn't allow. Deprecated code used to be considered valid but they have tried to replace it with new coding, like CSS in many cases.

Simple HTML became XHTML & CSS. You are using simple HTML so you should use a transitional HTML DOCTYPE.

The HTML 4.01 Transitional DTD includes everything in the strict DTD plus deprecated elements and attributes.
For documents that use this DTD, use the following DOCTYPE declaration:
CODE
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
   "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">







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