Hi all,

I just wanted to present this question to all you SEO savvy people out there. I have recently been building websites with W3 compliant code as an added SEO feature. Do you think that it helps with SEO and if so, do you know if there are any statistics out there on the web that show how much it helps?

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To answer the specific question "Does W3 validating code help SEO", the answer is no, it does not.
However, having invalid code on your page could hurt your SEO, and that is why it is considered a best practice to validate your code through W3C compliant validators. The reason is that if search engines trip up on coding errors in your page, your content could be ignored and not indexed. Obviously, this would hurt your SEO efforts.
From what I've seen, search engines are actually very forgiving regarding SEO errors, and I've seen pages that are riddled with errors rank quite nicely. I see more problems with HTML, JavaScript and CSS code that appears to search engines to be spam attempts, such as cloaking, hidden redirects, etc. That will get your pages banned for no apparent reason. I have yet to see an actual example among my customers of HTML errors causing rankings to fall.
Still, validating your pages and eliminating serious errors is a good practice, and it may help avoid an occasional problem.

So, by all means use W3C validators and use good coding practices, but don't fool yourself that this will "help" your SEO. That comes from a focus on keywords, good content, good website structure, strong inbound linking and all the other things that search engines use to pick those sites that should rank high in the search results.

It would be mighty hypocritical if it did since Google's code doesn't even come close to validating. However, the cleaner your code is, the better off you'll be. It's also a good idea to use html tags the way they were meant to be used: H1 and H2 tags for headings, use <em> for emphasis and <strong> for strong emphasis, make proper use of CSS, use <cite> or <blockquote> when quoting from another site (it will get you out of any duplicate content issues), etc.

t is not a factor in ranking; being valid doesn't give you better results.

However, certain coding errors can cause a section of a page or a whole page to not be indexed, and/or links to other pages of the site to not be followed.

Obviously, that latter scenario will often have a negative impact on what the site ranks for, and how much traffic it gets.

So, validation doesn't give a boost, but non-valid code might be holding you back in some way.

am i right?

Well keep in mind that search engines do think about what elements are designed for ... Proper use of the <ul> tag for lists, <h1> for headings, <blockquote> to quote other sites, <strong> to emphasize certain words, etc.

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