W3 Validation – Does it make a difference to be a perfectionist?

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W3C Valid Code

Well, it’s interesting to put all of our training to work. Yet despite all of the certifications and education that we have, it is interesting to contradict my scholarly standings with yet another blog post.  At this point, we want to discuss validator.w3.org.  Even though we have known about this handy feature for a while now, it should at least be questioned.  Does it make a difference?  In a few cases, we have found questions like this one below throughout the Internet:

“I just wanted to present this question to all you SEO savvy people out there. I have recently been building websites with W3 compliant code as an added SEO feature. Do you think that it helps with SEO and if so, do you know if there are any statistics out there on the web that show how much it helps?”

A lot of people answer no change at all… Some report high change.  We personally think that it is case specific.  Even with a site that may have several errors (+50), it is important to properly grasp the situation by giving a proper analysis.  If the site has never been launched before, yes – it is extremely important. If it is a site that you have maintained with dynamic content and it has been done before, it may or may not make a difference.

What errors matter to W3C?

There are some errors that matter more than others that can hinder your SEO for XHTML:

Incorrectly defining your entire page by forgetting to declare your DOCTYPE.
No Alt tag on <img> tags.
Forgetting to close your tags the right way or within the correct tag.
Forgetting to put a <p> before text in a <div> tag.

There are plenty more things. We did a lot of what we described above when validating pages last night…even though the blog here is not yet validated.  Do we think that it makes a difference?  Not really. Because if this was a magic bullet, then our pages would be where we want them to be at this very moment.  But of course, we would tell our competition that.

Have thoughts?  Please leave a comment!

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