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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

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August 7, 2007

W3C Page Validation - How important is it to overall SEO?

I really do not understand Webmasters / Designers clutter up pages with "validation" icon links. In my estimation most end users, don't even understand it....Much less care. So you are basically showing off for other Webmasters, not a big crowd. I guess designers home pages, and template sites, and even SEO sites might benefit from this "showing off".

The most trusted source I know, SEOmoz Ranking Factors V2 says W3C standards validation is a 1.4, of slight importance.

Aaron Wall - If you can get designers to think that your stuff is better because it validates more of them will pay attention to you, subscribe to your feed, and link at your site. Otherwise, I believe validation is somewhat overhyped.

Mike McDonald - Validation? Please, oh please, make it go away. Validation zealots just plain freak me out. Walking under ladders, breaking mirrors and stepping on cracks probably has more influence on your SERPs than validation.

Christine Churchill - Only becomes an issue when the error keeps the spider from indexing a page properly.

I can appreciate the need for solid code, but I am with these guys....If you are getting spidered well, and your accessibility is decent then validation matters VERY little. What is too little or too much code error? I try to use simple rules. If it is crawled well, navigated by users well, the code is clean and the page loads to standard without errors, and I am running a 8.5 or better total on this tool.

I think shooting for validation is extremely important, just not earth shattering if you can't get it to validate. Validation ability is less the of an issue than broken code and errors. I am in no way saying its OK to ignore validation and accessibility, just that like everything else it has its place and merit.


These are high performing Authority sites. I suggest you certainly look at your pages ability to validate, and try to resolve any problems you can......Especially accessibility. So when you use W3C validation, just keep in mind...It isn't the end of the world if your pages don't validate. I suggest you concern yourselves with the output of this Page Analyzing Tool, and the Site Reportcard.

If you want to poke around with screen readers, for visually impaired accessibility...check out this page. Check out your page in Lynx View also, which is text only. Some CSS pages are really messed up in Lynx view. Another great accessibility resource tool is WebXACT by Watchfire. WebXACT will give you a run down of all accessibility errors and warnings. Pay close attention to high priority problems. WebXACT also checks for aspects of privacy compliance!

With a lot of the accessibility standards and even some W3C standards, there is going to be quality content that doesn't make the cut. I say weigh it out.......I don't generally toss out great content for small accessibility or validation problems. Remember...Its not the end of the world!

Peace and SEO

Melanie Prough

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San Diego Web Designer said...

This is a great post. I often felt embarrassed if a page didn't validate and/or produced errors. I started including validation in my web design agreements, and now wish I wouldn't have brought on the extra headache, as I use alot of css lists and division id's