What is Code Validation and is it Important?

12 Apr 2010 | written by AJ Wilcox for the SEO section(s)

What is Code Validation and is it Important?
ThinkGeek.com

Often times I come across client sites that are really messy in their code. Code can be outdated, antiquated, deprecated, or just wrong. No matter what is wrong with your coding, it causes issues that can inhibit your client visibility along with your search engine visibility. I’d like to address code validation and the importance of clean HTML code in today’s post.

Reasons for Clean Code

  1. Search engine resources
  2. Think about it – Google has finite resources in their indexing servers and crawling spiders. The more efficient the use of code, the faster they can go without being hindered. If I had to take a guess at how much Google’s spiders’ time is worth per second, I would say it is in the thousands of dollars.

    When they crawl your site, if you’re wasting their time with code they have to fix on the fly in order to get any use out of it, should they care about ranking your site well?

  3. Rankings
  4. On the previous point, it’s entirely likely that your site could be penalized for its poor coding, and you may rank behind your competitors when your site has more merit. Hindered rankings turn into lost visitors & revenue, so this may be worth the investment.

  5. Hosting resources
  6. As your site is hosted, messy code makes pages bloated, and result in longer load times, and more bandwidth and server load taken on by your host. Your hosting company most likely charges you for the bandwidth or server load. If making sure you have valid, clean code on your site saves you more than it costs to clean it up, I would call that a worthy pursuit.

  7. Transferability
  8. When it comes time to move, migrate, transfer, or redesign your site, valid code can save you time and hassle. Some content management systems allow you to insert code, some are WYSIWYG only, and some allow either type of input. If you are going to be moving content management systems in the future, it is always best to make sure what you are transferring is clean and future proof.

A tech-savvy guest poster wrote an article on how to get embedded Youtube videos to validate if your site uses them and you like to validate to 100%. If that’s your situation, I highly suggest checking it out. It’s a little code heavy, but fascinating if you’re into that.

So how do I check if my code validates?

Excellent question. Head on over to W3C to use their code validator. Conversely, if you use Firefox, you can download the HTML Validator extension to see how code on every site validates.

Strangely enough, if you pay attention to Google’s own pages, they often do not validate as valid XHTML. Be careful before you cry “double standard” though, because it’s Google.

So there we have it. I may have left something out, so shoot your questions or comments over in the comments. Enjoy, and good luck with your code validation!

2 Comments

2 Comments

  • Jason |   Apr 15th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Don’t forget that when you do become 100% validated that W3C lets you display their logo..

  • AJ Wilcox |   Apr 16th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    True. Make sure you balance out how much value you get out of the W3C logo though. If it doesn’t add value to your site, it is simply a link back to the W3C site for work you did :)

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