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HTML Validity and SEO E-mail
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Among the many important factors in search engine optimization is the validity of the code used to construct the site. Search engine spiders have to parse the code of your web site as they crawl the content, leading them not only through the relevant content on that page, but finding other pages in your site through the code.

An error in your code means an error for the spiders, and they may not be able to crawl your site properly because of it. Weíll discuss in this article why valid HTML code is imperative in the design process and the crucial role in plays in search engine optimization and where your site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

What exactly is valid HTML code?
The vast majority of the sites on the internet are written at least in part in HTML (hyper-text markup language). HTML is the language that speaks to your browser and tells it exactly how to define and display a page. Like any language, HTML has its own necessary grammar; itís syntax. Because HTML is a constantly evolving language, itís very easy to make mistakes that will affect not only how a browser views your page, but also how a search engine spider crawls it. Rules for the language are developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3) and all modern browsers and spiders use these rules for viewing and crawling respectively.

Search engines have to parse the HTML code of each page in order to find and index the relevant content. One small code error could keep the spiders from your most relevant content and its keywords, thus keeping your SERP rankings low. Search engine spiders obey all HTML standards as set by W3. 100% compliance with the HTML standards is a guarantee that search engines will be able to index each page with the same consistency and that your other SEO efforts will not be adversely affected.

While all of the above statements are true, relatively few pages on the internet are written with fully validated code. Search engine spiders will typically stutter at a minor code error but continue on, but that depends on the nature of the error. A single missing bracket in your HTML code could be the difference between high-ranking in the SERPs and not being indexed at all.

How do I know if my code is valid?
The aforementioned group who determines the rules for HTML validity also provides an excellent and free means of checking your code quickly and efficiently. Called the W3C HTML Validator, this service will check any HTML documentís code against the rules and return the exact errors and an outline of what they mean to you. This tool allows designers to work step-by-step as they design their site to be sure that their code is valid. Even if you are not concerned with having your code be 100% valid, this tool will help to show you where the most crucial errors lie. Keep in mind however that the only way to ensure that spiders will index your page and its relevant content fully is through completely validated code.

SEO is a huge effort with any site, and there is little point in spending time and effort and one aspect while ignoring another. All the optimization in the world wonít do your site or your SERP ranking any good if a spider is not able to index your page properly (or at all) in the first place! Working with the validation tool and being careful to design your site based on inherent HTML principles is not only key to search engine optimization, it is its foundation.
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