Although Google have stated that currently having a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) compliant website will not influence ranking it is good practice to validate HTML code as it is likely that with the ever changing algorithms that are run by the major search engines that this could in time become a ranking factor. A website that is W3C compliant demonstrates that time has been taken to build in accordance with web standards. This will future proof the website as browsers are updated and also ensure that the website is displayed correctly across multiple vendors browsers and versions.
Validation should form an integral part of designing a website as it will help with debugging as well as detecting errors in hand-coded HTML or CSS. When search engines are spidering a site they prefer to be able to carry out this process without interruption. The problem if a site is not validated is that it could have badly formatted pages with issues such as invalid markup, misplaced tags or unclosed tags. In these instances the effect is that the search engine robots spidering process will be interrupted, there could be a failure to understand the content or a section of text getting passed over as the robot seeks out a closing tag. Validation is a procedure that can avoid all this from happening, valid HTML can assist SEO as it allows the robot to better analyze the site.
An important reason to implement validation is to ensure that a website will naturally pass some of the checkpoints that are mentioned in the levels of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Although it is not a legal requirement worldwide at present, it is a legal requirement for a website to adhere to all points in the UK, and it is likely that other countries could follow suit.
W3C Validation benefits
There are a number of benefits to Validation, including the following:
A site that has valid code will render faster, as the browser does not have to spend time correcting errors.
Aids in the maintenance and debugging of code.
Search engines can crawl through a site faster and detect the essential information.
Cross browser support:
Standards compliant markup ensures that all browsers will decipher web pages in the same manner, the outcome is less cross compatibility issues.
W3C Validation summary
The benefits of valid code might not always be obvious on the screen but overall having a clean code will result in the process of maintenance and administration of a site being a lot more straightforward, It will also ensure visitors are getting a fast user experience and the content is being displayed the way it was designed.
Seopler has a built in W3C validator. Every audit we run gives the option to check every HTML page crawled for validation errors. Sign up to one of our free or paid plans now and check whether your HTML pages validate.