Aug 22, 2008 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

With a pool of technologies, like frames, Flash, etc. giving search engine crawlers a tough time already in their quest to decipher and then subsequently rank web pages, you may think – why make their job tougher as it ultimately going to affect your rankings on SERPs. You, however, may be already doing so by unconsciously incorporating into your website an invalid HTML code. If you continue this malpractice, you may lose out on good search or even mediocre search engine rankings. The importance of a valid HTML is manifold. You can ask the community of web developers to vouch for this statement. To begin with, the benefits of a valid HTML can be briefly summarized as:

  • A valid HTML makes it easier for the people with certain disabilities to access one's website.
  • It enthuses browsers with added stability.
  • It facilitates the search engines to easily index websites.

Now, with the incentive of these benefits, one must go ahead to fully understand the workings of a valid HTML for their website in order to reap the above-mentioned benefits and more. Now, going backwards, lets first try to figure out what exactly is this this HTML validation is all about. It is essentially that exercise which is responsible for checking the syntax of your HTML code to detect those places in which the rules of the HTML language have been violated. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has defined the basic official rules for writing HTML. These W3C rules basically include:

  • Precise and strict definitions illustrating those HTML tags that are a legitimate part of HTML.
  • The art of structuring HTML documents.

The above-mentioned rules are violated when HTML errors like the following are committed:

  1. Badly nested tags in which an element is incorrectly closed before another;
  2. Malformed tables; and
  3. Violating the content model of the content by nesting tags inside one another

In essence, the act of validating HTML is basically carried out to ensure that your web pages are essentially error free. HTML validation follows a set of instructions and is thereby a trusted way of assuring that your HTML code is not infested with inconsistencies that might lead to consequences, which could be tough to deal with.

The process of HTML validation is not as complicated as it seems to be. To begin with, there are many trusted HTML editors, like, WDG HTML Validator that are powered with an in-built validator that conducts a comprehensive check through your page and points out errors in it. There is no shame in encountering loads of errors during your first validation check. It happens to the best of us.

The very central reason behind the W3C stressing so much upon validation is only because adhering to the official rules and guidelines of the HTML language that have been laid out by W3C, facilitates the browsers to correctly interpret your page.

It is not enough for the browsers to interpret your web pages correctly because your web page has immense responsibility towards the search engine spiders as well, right? Unlike Microsoft, Netscape and other flexible browsers, the search engines are not half as kind. Search engines too need to make sense out of your web page as they have to eventually perform the daunting task of indexing them properly. Search engines also give additional importance to keywords placed inside specific HTML tags and, thus, have a lot to do with the structure of your web page as well.

This does not, however, mean that the search engines are not forgiving at all and they never forgive any HTML error. They do. Also, this piece is not trying to imply that even a single HTML error will drown the web page and your efforts in totality. The trick to attaining HTML validation and web success is to strike a balance between callousness and over cautiousness.

Validating your HTML page goes a long way in becoming an intelligent precaution, and even more so if the HTML code is hand-written. A well-written, error free HTML code that is written after duly abiding by the W3C rules will most definitely result in good search engine rankings. It also ensures that your web page be properly displayed on older and less forgiving browsers. I feel that is reason enough for to validate your HTML as soon as possible.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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