Whether you’re working with a franchise or not, once you’re SEO knowledge has become a little bit more advanced it makes sense to question every little thing and figure out whether or not it affects SEO, including W3C validation. Because W3C has been a term that Webmasters have used for years, the discussions about the SEO implications of validating your website have, for the most part, disappeared. It’s important that as a Webmaster you ask yourself a few questions: What is WC3 validation, why does it matter, and how do I get started?
In this article you will find useful insights detailing the basic facts about WC3 Validator, how it works and why it matters.
First, let us define what a WC3 Validator is:
Also known as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), it enables internet users to inspect well-formatted markups in HTML and XHTML documents. A WC3 Validator is essential in establishing the quality of web pages based on technical aspects.
How WC3 Validation Works
WC3 stands for “Wide Web Consortium,” which is essentially a company that develops standards for code on the web. If you are going to use WC3 validation, it means that you are making sure your website is up to the coding standards set out by the Wide Web Consortium—A WC3 validator checks the HTML code for proper markup. If you validate your site and are following these standards, the ideas is that your website will have the best chance of working on different browsers.
A few more reasons to use a WC3 validator for your website include:
- Catch Missing Errors. Although many web browsers are fairly good at catching style errors, they can’t catch them all. A WC3 validator your website will help you catch those errors that are missed and help debug your site so that it is consistent amongst all browsers.
- Prepare for Future Changes. It lets you know that your pages are built following web standards, which means that your site should run smoothly in the future even if changes to the web are made.
- Look Professional. If you were to look at the content on a website, a WC3 validator can help you tell if it was created by someone who really knows their HTML or CSS stuff. In other words, it helps you look professional.
- Good Learning Tool. WC3 validator helps make things easier because more people understand HTML and CSS (it’s also great for beginners trying to learn the ropes).
- Simplify Maintenance. WC3 validator enables the creation of web pages based on widely used and accepted coding styles. This facilitates ease of maintenance for anyone who will be managing the website.
You can validate your website here. All you need to do is type in your URL and then check how many errors were found. There will be a list of errors so you know exactly where the problem lies as well as a few options to fix the problems. You can also visit this link to get installation information for the W3C markup validator.
So Are There Any Reasons Not to Validate?
In the past people might have made the argument that a WC3 validator doesn’t allow you to be creative, but that logic is long gone now that HTML and CSS are more advanced. Some people might argue that it takes some time and fixing issues can be confusing and it’s no worth it because your website looks fine. In some cases you can get away with this, but better to be safe than sorry. Long story short, it’s not absolutely necessary, but it can’t hurt.
So Does WC3 Validation Affect SEO?
The majority of industry experts say that WC3 validation has zero effect on SEO. Validating your site can give you some great insight into your web development needs, but it won’t directly affect your SEO ranking. The biggest reason that people feel this way is because Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam, said so himself. Here is the video that so many people have referenced since it was launched in 2009.
According to the video and other research, there are essentially two main reasons that WC3 validation isn’t really going to matter when talking about organic search (hint: it all comes back to Google):
- Broken code isn’t going to take away great content. People can understand great content even if there is a slight problem with the code, so that shouldn’t affect that piece of content’s position on a SERP.
- Google itself (along with other major brands) doesn’t validate. If you visit the validation service and type in Google.com, there are dozens of errors. Clearly they’re not putting much stock into this service.
Once again, this video only proves that this particular type of validation isn’t the only thing that Google uses to validate your website. Understand what it means and keep it in mind, but don’t worry if it’s still on your list of things to do.
Meet SEO Standards with a W3C Validator
Websites that used W3C Validator are free from errors that are usually caused by wrongly done codes. Aside from that, it is also important to note that W3C validation enables a website to meet SEO standards.
Standard HTML tags are powerful and when they are used according to W3C guidelines. But aside from validating the coding used on a website, a W3C validated website also meets the best SEO practices that can boost a website’s presence online.
Image alt tags, header tags, bullet points and other coded elements on a page are factors that can give a website the advantage on the SEO perspective. Furthermore, it comes with long-term benefits as it also affects browser compatibility, page speed and many more.
What W3C Validation Means to Franchise Owners
When talking about franchise companies specifically, this topic is particularly important because franchises may have more than one website or more than one manager working with one website. Having the thought that you absolutely need to validate your website or websites in your head can be a huge burden if you’re dealing with all of the hats that come with franchise ownership. Understanding how validation works, and particularly how a WC3 validator works in regards to SEO, can help you get a clear picture of your company and help you prioritize. In general, W3C validation is probably not the first thing that should be on the priority list for a franchise, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future as you continue to grow.
Once again, validating your website does have benefits and it is a good way to improve and understand your site. When it comes to SEO, however, validation is not something you should worry too much about because it’s not something that is going to affect your rankings.
What is your opinion on W3C validation? Do you have any personal experience with validation and SEO implications? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
Adam Heitzman is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers a full range of internet marketing services.
For more information: