Our Answers To Commonly Asked Questions About SEO
An important SEO procedure involves the validation of a website’s coding against the appropriate World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard. The validation process highlights coding errors and instances of invalid mark-up. Some common coding errors, such as incorrectly nested tags and omission of closing paragraph tags, are tolerated by web browsers and spiders and will be indexed properly. Other errors, including the failure to close comment tags, result in pages being indexed incorrectly or not being indexed at all. Spiders do not behave consistently across the different search engines, so it is better to correct all coding errors picked up during the validation process.
In the case of invalid HTML mark-up, a more pragmatic approach is sometimes required. Some HTML tags are supported by all the major browsers, but have not yet been incorporated into or have been dropped from the W3C specification. In most cases, invalid mark-up will be replaced with valid mark-up that achieves the same effect. Much of this mark-up is concerned with layout and has been superseded by the introduction of the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) standard. This allows precise results to be achieved in a cleaner and more SEO compliant manner.
Having corrected errors and removed invalid mark-up, it may seem strange to deliberately introduce non-W3C compliant mark-up. The reason for doing this is that some HTML tags have attributes relevant to spiders but not to web browsers and will therefore may only be included in the W3C standard after considerable delay. A good example of this was the link relationship 'nofollow' attribute of the href tag, which gives greater control over how hyperlinks are treated by search engine spiders than either the robots meta tag or robots text file. The link relationship attribute is a powerful SEO tool used both to control the distribution of Google PageRank within the website via the site’s internal link system and to prevent PageRank leaking from the website via the external links. Using the link relationship attribute to improve search engine performance initially resulted in mark-up which violated the W3C standard, but the attribute has now been included in the W3C specification.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires that websites 'published' in the UK take reasonable steps to ensure that they are accessible to disabled users. As HTML and CSS markup has become more sophisticated, so it has become easier to comply with DDA, offer a rich, accessible user experience to all visitors and conform to W3C standards.
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