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Role of W3 Compliance In SEO

There are many people who are unaware of W3C compliance and many who don’t know what kind of role the W3C compliance plays in SEO. First you need to understand what W3C compliance really is. W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium and this body or association has been providing the guidelines for website structure since 1994.

The guidelines or rules have been created according to the best practices and there are certain reasons why you or your website designer should comply with the W3C guidelines. All the reasons are not SEO driven and some of the non-SEO reasons include:

• W3C Compliance will ensure that your website is accessible to the disabled.
• W3C Compliance will also ensure that your website can be accessed through different devices like cellular phones and PDA’s and also from different browsers like Mozilla Firefox.
• W3C Compliance will ensure that in spite of the different functionalities and requirements of different technologies and browsers, your website will be accessible and function in across different mediums in a similar way.

Now that you know the non-SEO reasons for ensuring full W3C compliance, you will probably ask: what has this got to do with SEO?

According to a statement made by Frederick Townes from W3Edge web design, if you use the standards and incorporate the best practices then you are ensuring that your website will be designed in such a way that it is easier for search engines to interpret it. At the same time, the search engines will be able to skew the content-to-code ratio in the right direction and force the information on each of the web pages to be accessible.

Basically, he means that if you remove excess code from your web pages then the keyword driven content will get a higher priority. The second most important thing is that following the W3C compliance will ensure that your web site can be easily spidered.

How to add W3C Compliance to your website

Actually it is easier said than done. If you don’t have a website then you can have it designed based on the W3C compliance from scratch and your website designer needs to know how he/she can do it. If you have a website, which is not W3C compliant then you have only one option:
You need to hire a web/graphic designer who is familiar with the W3C standards and has the capability to redo your site based on the standards.

Either ways, you will benefit if your website is W3C compliant.

Let us look at a worse case scenario where you will have to do the website all by yourself. There are quite a few good resources that you can take advantage of. One of the best is the FireFox Web Developer extension. You need to first install the FireFox browser and then install the Web Developer extension.

One of the major aspects of this tool is that it provides a one-click check for W3C compliance and it will provide you with a list of the different types of errors, their cause and the solution and everything will be according to the W3C standard. The Web Developer extension can test CSS, HTML, and XHTML, compliance.

Some of the other good resources that you can check include:
• Holy CSS ZeldMan
• A List Apart
• CSS Zen Garden

How to start
Once you have downloaded the Firefox browser and installed the Web Developer extension, you will need to bookmark your resources. Once this is taken care of, you will have to test your website and at the same time check that your site meets all the W3C standards.

You should first start with the CSS validation. CSS validation is an easy process and can be done quickly as compared to most of the other code files. Once you are done with CSS, move on to HTML or XHTML validation. This will take at least a few hours and even more. The bigger your website is, the more time it will take.

After the validation of CSS and HTML, you will have to comply with Accessibility standards. In this process, you will be cleaning a chunk of your existing code and moving some of the code to CSS.

What is the need?
By now you are probably wondering why you need to do all this. The only reason is that once you complete all the validations, you will have a fully compliant website. Although the W3C compliance is not the only factor that drives SEO but if your website maintains the standard then you will definitely have the edge in the rat race.

Seomul Davis is search engine optimization specialist for SEO 1 Services links

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Owner: Seomul Davis

Submitted On: 2007-10-09


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