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Markup Validation - Faults???

Hi there.

Where showing some people on a forum my website, and asking why it wasn't really working for me, one person came back and advised me

" Some pretty serious faults with the markup might prevent the search engines from doing a thorough spidering ..."

and gave me a link to the W3C validation page.  Indeed there are 13 errors and 17 warnings.  As the guy is a web designer I'm inclined to believe what he says, but not sure how true it is and how I get them corrected.

Please advise.

Additionally can anyone advise of an easy to follow tutorial to guide me through the world of CSS, or suggest any thing else why my site isn't returning much response?

www.disco-magic.co.uk

BTW I am more of a graphic designer and whilst I know a little about HTML code I don't know much!!!

Thanks
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heijmer
Asked:
heijmer
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2 Solutions
 
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The first thing is that your 'meta' lines go inside the <head> section.  You have one that is above everything else.  Move it down.  Most of your 'errors' will go away when you do that.

This is what the top section should look like.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<title>Disco Magic - Professional Mobile Disco and DJ in Oxted, Surrey, Kent and Sussex</title>
<meta name="" content="Disco Magic Wedding Disco, Birthday Disco, Teen Disco for all your special events as well as Corporate Functions and Charity Events in Surrey Kent South London and Sussex" />

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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
When you use the W3 validator, make sure you select VERBOSE mode so you get really detailed explanations of what is wrong.  In my experience, it will tell you almost everything you need to know about how to fix each issue.

Before you concentrate on the actual errors, start by fixing the doctype declaration.  That determines how the rest of the code is parsed and validated and is THE first step. Once  you have that done and fix Dave's recommendations above, let us know and we can take a second look at it.

>> but not sure how true it is

It is true.  The Googlebot is pretty stupid and if you feed it poorly structure pages it will downgrade you quite severely in response.  All pages have two sides..the face you present to the user and the structure behind it.  Both need to be well-formed to have a good site.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
"Additionally can anyone advise of an easy to follow tutorial to guide me through the world of CSS, or suggest any thing else why my site isn't returning much response?"

You can get basic CSS from http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp .   If you try to get "pixel perfect" CSS cross-browser layouts, it is no longer easy.

To get more response, you need to advertise your business with your site URL on/in the advertising.  All the SEO in the world doesn't make any difference if you don't tell anyone about your site.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>> Additionally can anyone advise of an easy to follow tutorial to guide me through the world of CSS, or
>> suggest any thing else why my site isn't returning much response?

These are two radically different questions and you should post them separately to get better answers.

Short answers:

CSS = I recommend http://www.w3.org/Style/Examples/011/firstcss.en.html over W3Schools (see http://w3fools.com/ for reasons why)

Marketing = Good rankings happen if you have a) a completely unique niche (you don't) and/or b) lots of backlinks to your page.  Concentrate on getting people to link to you...use social networking to help the process...and eyeballs will follow.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
While the w3fools have a few good points, their info is getting more and more out of date and wrong itself.  In addition, they didn't read some of their own references correctly.  And a fair amount of it is opinion and whining.  W3Schools, even with their errors, has much more useful info than W3Fools and probably a higher percentage of correctness.  But since perfection is difficult to achieve, it is always a good idea to have alternate sources that you can check when something doesn't work.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
Fair enough.
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heijmerAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys...

I have cleared up the meta data at the top f the page... and hurrah! only two errors left...

Line 75, Column 90: there is no attribute "bordercolor"
…enter" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" bordercolor="#FFFFFF" bgcolor="#000000">
¿
You have used the attribute named above in your document, but the document type you are using does not support that attribute for this element. This error is often caused by incorrect use of the "Strict" document type with a document that uses frames (e.g. you must use the "Transitional" document type to get the "target" attribute), or by using vendor proprietary extensions such as "marginheight" (this is usually fixed by using CSS to achieve the desired effect instead).

This error may also result if the element itself is not supported in the document type you are using, as an undefined element will have no supported attributes; in this case, see the element-undefined error message for further information.

How to fix: check the spelling and case of the element and attribute, (Remember XHTML is all lower-case) and/or check that they are both allowed in the chosen document type, and/or use CSS instead of this attribute. If you received this error when using the <embed> element to incorporate flash media in a Web page, see the FAQ item on valid flash.


How important is this bordercolor error - can I just ignore.

Marketing = Good rankings happen if you have a) a completely unique niche (you don't) and/or b) lots of backlinks to your page.  Concentrate on getting people to link to you...use social networking to help the process...and eyeballs will follow.

SO... Jason - are you saying that I should try a short tem google adwords campaign (or something simular, as well as f/book; twitter et etc and this will help increase my organic SEO?

One more thing...

I have tried creating and attaching a CSS style sheet to my website, but it makes every thing go horribly wrong.. Adding massive spaces etc etc...   It is very important that I do this, and if I don't will it affect SEO?

Again I have been advised
And get the markup into an external CSS file to prevent it diluting your HTML to text ratio.

Within the markup ditch the "style32" and "style34" etc. and replace with the standard header tags H1, H2, H3 - then style these as appropriate. Header tags get more gravitas with the search engines.



Thanks so much guys :)




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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The version of your page that is online at the link above has not changed so we can't check your changes.

And while I agree with @jason's SEO advice, I think it is more important to advertise directly to the people that will hire you in your area.  Business cards and flyers and word of mouth are more important to your business.  Local business sites that I have done get used as reference after they get flyers or cards.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>> SO... Jason - are you saying that I should try a short tem google adwords campaign (or something
>> simular, as well as f/book; twitter et etc and this will help increase my organic SEO?

If your goal is purely eyeballs on the site, then yes. But Dave's right in that you should not be doing much SEO at all and instead just make the page correct and crawl-able and then focus on local advertising.  

What you do want is to come up in the top 10 for <name of locality> <service provided> searches.  The best way to accomplish that is to get other <name of locality> businesses to link to you, so try to form relationships with non-competing businesses and trade links with them...
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