Does your current website conform to standards? Yes, there are standards that have been set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on how web sites should be written. Following these standards ensures that your site is readable on all platforms, by future browsers, on mobile devices, and by the visually impaired.
Some search engines check the HTML or XHTML code of your website in search of relevant content. If they find invalid HTML or XHTML code – meaning code that is not following the official rules, you might be removed from indexes. If there is an error on your web page code, spiders will stop searching your whole website, and ths could very well be the end of your optimization efforts.
XHTML is the newest standard for this hybrid markup language designed for web documents. It is a combination of classic HTML and advanced XML. Validation is in fact, the process of checking documents against this formal standard. Converting your HTML web pages to XHTML takes time. This will definitely help your website in the future. Although the easiest way of creating XHTML pages is to start a new project, redesigning and updating old pages could also be a viable solution.
The rules W3C outlines are not compulsory since they don’t have a certification program, but there are reasons why you should bring your website into compliance.
Main advantages that derive from W3C compliance:
- Your website will be more easily accessed by people with disabilities and the user experience will be improved;
- W3C validation helps you reduce the amount of coding on your pages thus emphasizing the importance of content. Your site will have the chance to get indexed and as a result get higher rankings in the most important search engines, since spiders are known to crawl websites with relevant content;
- Your website can be easily accessed from different devices – PCs, laptops, PDAs, cellular phones, etc.;
- Validation is fully compatible with a wide range of dynamic pages, scripting and active content, multimedia presentations, etc.;
- Different current and future browsers will display pages in the same way, or at least in a very similar fashion.
Fortunately there are free services that allow you to check your documents for compliance with web standards. The W3C's free online Validation Service (validator.w3.org ) is used by many professionals to ensure their sites comply with web standards.