Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Website Validation Check... is there a noise coming from your engine?

Bit like a car that may gradually, or even suddenly, start to make an unusual noise from underneath the hood you have choices...
- keep driving and hope for the best
- pop the hood and take a look around yourself
- or head over to your trusted mechanic and get it sorted


At Search Group we regularly provide ongoing reports, and expand upon our initial site audit where we outline any concerns that may exist under the hood of your website, particularly when it comes to the performance of your website both for the user experience and the performance and interaction of Search Engines across your website.

I notice regularly when performing reviews that many client website's still have invalid websites that do not conform to web standards and meet the necessary quality checks applied.

The following short and simple reference is provided to explain in depth why it is beneficial to validate your website, and answer some of the common misconceptions around this:http://validator.w3.org/docs/why.html

Having a website that has errors or even warnings can be hazardous to its performance.

Just like when you drive behind another car that has a broken brake light, you the web site owner are not always aware of the problem because it seems to just work for you... but this may not be the same experience for everyone else on the internet. Which is why website validation checks exist to help find problems and provide an opportunity to fix them once and for all.

I typically find if a problem exists on the front page of a website, that it then carries through the rest of the website. This is NOT the time for you to learn html so don't panic! I encourage you to engage with your website designer, and request them to review their website code and work toward resolving any issues. The website designer can then double check their changes to ensure that they validate through either:
http://www.totalvalidator.com/
http://validator.w3.org/

There are different settings that can be chosen when running a validator, but I encourage the designer to be ruthless in this approach. Our aim is for a perfect health score on the test, but even a reduction in the number of errors and warnings I will consider a win! And you will have a win too. By providing a website without errors will make for a better user experience and a much happier search bot with more opportunity of actually crawling through your entire website to find all your great content and getting this included within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

If you don't currently have a website designer available to assist you, or need a helping hand please let Search Group know as we supply website maintenance support as part of list of services.

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