Before I start this post I would like to declare my respect for web designers and developers, I am pretty handy with html and CSS but I can only dream about some of the stuff these guys can accomplish with a web page, however one thing that really annoys me is when a web designer/developer criticises me without doing the research.
I wish I had a pound for every time a developer has told me ‘you can’t me much of an SEO if you can’t even validate your pages’. This is a statement that really bugs me and when I read Aaron Walls post at seobook I just had to react with some hard facts.
Many people have got it into their heads that validation is a crucial part of SEO and that it is essential to ranking a site highly. This is not the case and never has been, as long as Google can find your content your page will get indexed.
Is validation worth it??
Well that depends really, sure it’s nice to have clean code but it can also be expensive and time consuming to fix. If you’re a start up business and your budget is tight, validation is not what you need, you need traffic and SEO get’s traffic.
OK… Before we go any further let’s take a look at some facts.
200 top ranked sites were used to compile the following information.
First let’s look at the average errors on sites ranking in position 1 – 5 in Google.
Yes we can see from the graph that rank 5 has significantly more errors than the sites above, however this was mainly due to 4 sites having well in excess of 3000 errors but hey their still 5th on Google!
The main thing to take from this graph is that sites are ranking high on Google with errors and that all these sites were ranking for ultra competitive terms like car insurance and credit cards.
The average errors for rank 1 was 54. Do you really think validation is the key to high rankings?
OK.. One last graph… Here are the percentage of sites ranking in the top 5 with Errors.
Thats right people only 8% of the 200 sites across 20 different keywords validated.
Even though the above is compelling enough there is more evidence to prove validation is not the be all and end all.
1) Google does not validate
2) On a search for ‘web design’ only 2 of the top 5 validated with position 2 having over 100 errors.
3) A lot of the big brands such as Tesco, The Times, Direct Line and The Guardian do not validate.
We are talking about companies with limitless budgets and yet they do not see the need to validate???? Something doesn’t make sense.
The truth is validation is a luxury, it is not needed to rank well and does not play a role in the Google ranking factors.
Maybe as your business starts to grow and funds become more readily available then consider validation, but know the only thing it is going to give you is a big green tick on the validation page, it will not boost your SERP position.
Now if you are reading this ready to assault me in the comments please know that I have nothing against dev’s and designers, as I said at the beginning I only wish I had the same skills. The thing that really bugs me is when a small percentage comes along and tries to tell someone else how to do their job properly, trust me if validation was a crucial part of SEO every SEO site out there would validate
For those of you who don’t want to kill me, I hope you enjoyed the post.Line Break
Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.