14 November 2008

Will w3c validation help your Google ranking?

There has been lots of debate about this. w3c validation may mean that you have clean code on your web pages which will ensure they appear consistently in most people's browsers and that they can be better interpreted by small screens on PDAs and phones and, in particular, will have many of the features that make them more accessible to those with some disabilities. This, in itself, though, whilst commendable, does not mean they'll get higher ranking in search engines.

I have just come across this quote from an interview with Adam Lasnik (SEO Strategist at Google) in which he says:

[T]here are many great reasons to have your site validate, and to do validation checking. It can help your site, and could be more accessible to a lot of different people and browsers. But, here is the core problem why we cannot use this in our scoring algorithms currently: There are a ton of very high quality sites, pages and sites from universities, from research institutions, from very well respected ecommerce stores, of which I won't name any, that have really crufty sites, and sites that won't validate. On some of these you can view the source and cry. And, because this is quality content, we really can't use that as an effective signal in search quality. So, you can quote me a saying, I would be thrilled, it would make my day if people would decruft their sites, but it's not going to directly affect their Google ranking.

I thought it was worth adding it here. Not the sort of thing that all readers will be interested in but those working with CSS will. What I particularly liked, though, was his comment that there are many crufty sites from respectable and often-consulted organisations and insitutions that do not qualify for w3c validation yet have considerable merit and deliver what people want (albeit not in the best way, perhaps).

I have never encountered the word crufty before. A combination of crap, rough and grotty perhaps.

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