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Why doesn’t validate?

Why doesn't validate?

Michael Thingmand from Denmark asks:

“Why doesn’t validate (according to W3C)?”

This video is part of a “Grab Bag” series in which Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, answers questions from webmasters. We’re not currently taking new video questions, so your best bet for getting an answer about webmaster-related search issues is to head to our help forum: //



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  1. Validating is overrated, when I was at uni, everything had to be valid – a lot of times I found myself sacrificing the build quality and overall polished feel of the site just to achieve a valid site. I still do try get my small sites, especially simple HTML sites, to be valid – but when it comes to large custom CMS based sites, I just tend to put the site through my little gauntlet of tests and that seems to be good enough.

  2. I think there is a logic flaw on the argument "we don't boost page that validates because almost everypage doesn't validate"

    1. Validation is good for web
    2. Validation take extra time/effort

    So shouldn't be google rewarding in some way (only a little) the sites that validate?

  3. They should validate.
    Google say you must do the page in way and close our eyes and pray to rank, cuz they will do the right think.
    But if we look what they do with their pages,then we should exploit every gap we got to rank no matter what.
    So the definition of black hat would be, what google's can't detect.

  4. I've always thought that validation is unimportant. What's important is the user's experience. No user looks at your code and says 'hmm… that bit there isn't valid. I'm not going to use this site'. For the most part, this goes for accessibility validation, too. Sure, some of it like title attributes, alt tags on images, etc., are a good idea, but there's a lot of annoying unnecessary stuff in there, too.

  5. @jarrod1937 It's MAJOR late in reply but no, I didnt have other problems. I tested it across all a bunch of OS's and browsers and the ONLY one with an issue was IE. I didnt know why so I just removed it. I couldnt be bothered dealing with it.

    The page was white in the beginning then it would crash before loading. On some peoples computers it would just crash out without even starting. I hadnt changed anything on my site at all, just added that. It was fine before it :).

  6. Why fix what ain't broken? The aim of standardizing markup is to have no implementation-based differences. If Google can do a good job at that, then there isn't any need for it to comply to a third party's standards, no matter how popular that third party be.

  7. @rickvidallon "Validation does not guarantee a site will look the same from platform to platform, from browser to browser. " This isn't a bug, it's a feature! HTML is intended to define the markup and then every browser on every device does its best at rendering it according to its capabilities, screen size, etc.. Designers want their babies to look the same pixel by pixel everywhere but that just isn't how it is meant to be.
    Designers not getting this cause a lot of pain for their users 🙁

  8. why would it validate? There are like 100 000 sites which actually validate. There is no SEO value in W3C compliance, so nobody cares about it.

  9. The very point of the W3C is to make web content available to all users, regardless of platform or disability. By not validating and by not preferring sites that do, Google is culpable. Google, don't be evil! Net neutrality matters – so does code neutrality! Open standards are the most important, proprietary code will just make the job harder in the future….

  10. Then you have other serious problems. I test all additions to my site across different platforms and browsers and browser versions (and sub-versions) and never had analytics code fail that badly…

  11. Well when you're serving up millions of people, just the structural code can make a very large difference. One reason why they minify their output code. If you save 15 kb of structure code from being transferred, over 1 million hits that could save up to 14 gigs of transferred data! Considering they get millionS of hits i'd gather they're save quite a bit through their efforts, far from a cop out.

  12. If you check any of the big companies…many have 150+ errors. Perhaps it means that W3C is just a big joke on us that follow it to the bone.

  13. Agreed!! That code actually CRASHED my site for IE users. And when that happened, it was IE7, IE8 hadnt popped up yet.

  14. Don't you think that giving a little boost to pages that do validate would encourage people to make proper code? It wouldn't take much of a boost.

  15. W3C validation is not the web developers Holy Grail. Validation does not guarantee a site will look the same from platform to platform, from browser to browser. Validation does not assure that markup is efficiently written or adheres to a given entitys assessment of best practices. What it means is that the developer has coded a functional document and used no markup in addition to that specified by the guidelines.

  16. With all respect Matt, I think something needs clarification here. Since when LSM (Layered Semantic Markup) and valid web sites have browser compatibility issues?

  17. Actually they do – while Matt did say they do not check validation – & they do not – real world tests show the things that go into clean, valid and accessible code DO help websites do better in SEO.

  18. Not quite right Matt 🙂 I coded new templates for SuperPages that were W3C compliant and worked in 85 browser/platform combinations (inc lynux, bsd and mobile) with no IE specific hacks or style sheets.

    Granted that might not be all browsers out there, but does account for 99.9% of the users. So while it may be difficult it can be done.

    But good explanation, even if it is not the impossible task it may seem to be! 🙂

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