Why should you W3C Validate a Website?
One of the most misunderstood and unused website development practices for website owners and developers alike is the W3C Validation of a website. There is a myriad of opinions when it comes to the question of "should I have my website validated or not?" I want to tell you why we believe that all websites should validate and why it is a standard practice of The Turn Group to do so.
First and foremost let me tell you what W3C Validation is.
- W3C Validation
- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. To see the full scale of what the W3C is visit the FAQ Section.
- W3C Code Valuator
- This is a tool used to validate your website code against the internet standards developed and published by the W3C.
- W3C CSS Validation
- This is a tool used to validate your website CSS files against the internet standards developed and published by the W3C.
How does validating my website help me?
In our opinion if at all possible you should always validate your website. Why? The search engines can not see what your website looks like. All they see is your code. Let me say this one more time. ALL the search engines can see when they visit your website is the code of your website. Google's algorithm, as well as most other search engines have a point/grading system - a list of standards/items that it checks your website against. Suffice it to say the list is too long to get into within this article. As an SEO expert, I am always looking for the advantage over our competition. When the search engines are comparing our website against one of our competitors website, it behooves us to do everything we can to one-up the competition. Does this mean that if our site validates and the others do not that we get a higher page rank or more visibility then they do? Of course not. But, when Google is going down the check list of what they deem to be a #1 page rankable website, W3C validation is on the list. The more "checks" off the list of compliance you can get the more advantage you start to build over those who do not. Again this is only one of several dozen very complicated standards that Google is looking for when evaluating your website.
Do I have to validate my website to get a page rank?
Absolutely not! Most websites do not validate. And to tell you the truth not all of our websites validate either. Only as of January 1st of 2013 did we officially start validating all of our code we write as a standard/mandatory practice. But, most websites who are ranking #1 right now in the search engines are not validated. So it is not mission critical to do so. However, as mentioned above. If you want to outrank your competition, everything that you can do better is suggested.
If you believe in W3C validation so much why do you have a few websites that do not validate?
We get asked this every once in a while. Validation is standard practice at The Turn Group. However, it is not set in stone. The code we write always validates if at all possible. However, often times the component we install from 3rd parties do not always validate. And to be honest, it can be quite a large task to validate someone else's code. Not to mention, when you update the software when a new security patch is released, you lose all your validation with the newly updated code. Sometimes it is just not work the headache.
Because validation takes a little more time, it increases the budget to either validate an existing website or to validate a new website from scratch. When clients are on a tight budget and schedule and are not concerned at all with website validation for whatever reason, then those circumstances also dictate whether a website is validated completely. 99% of the time, we do everything we can to make sure the code we produce validates every time.
Bottom Line: Is W3C validation an absolute requirement? No it is not. But any advantage you can get over your competition is always a highly recommended part of a good SEO strategy and is absolutely worth it in the end.
Would you like to get a quote for the validation of your website? Get a Quote
If you have an opinion, thoughts or more information about this topic, we would like to hear from you below.