Does conforming to W3C standards help with SEO?

Hi all

I appreciate that it good practice to ensure all code is clean but does it help with SEO?  I have read a few different points where some say it does and some say it doesn't.

Can I have a expert give me the right answer please.

Thanks

Si
cybersiAsked:
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GaryCommented:
W3C compliance should be seen as an aid to make sure your site operates and looks the same in all browsers.
It's not a factor in SEO if you have a misplaced div - Google is concerned about content not what the HTML is.
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
It's a grey area! Some say yes some say no, but only the search engines know for sure. What they all do though is advise that your page is using valid, structured, semantic code.

Not only is this good for SEO, but more importantly, it's good for your users. When companies develop web browsers for instance they [most of them...ahem!] work against a defined set of standards, so if you want the widest possible coverage (aka cross-browser consistency) then it makes sense to stick to the standards. In the bad ole days, you ended up hacking your site because of the lack of standards and it was a right mess (remember reading 'best viewed in Netscape Navigator' at the bottom of pages!)

Unless you've got a VERY good reason not to, and you can justify it, then stick to the standards - it's not difficult. If you don't stick to the standards just because you can't be bothered then you're asking for trouble.

Having said that, if you absolutely need to hook into some third party app or plug-in that doesn't adhere to the standards, don't get too hung up about it. After all, your site is aimed at people, not search engines..
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Hey Hi Cathal

You have come to my rescue again!!!

Many thanks

Simon
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Everything does help, but if you have great content that everybody is linking to and not so great coding skills, you will still rank.  If your content is not very good to start with, changing your code is not going to help directly.

Keep this in mind, if your code is not compliant, that probably means some or many people can't view your site an will not use it.  Google detects that and that is a more likely scenario as to how your rankings could be affected.  

You should practice good standards for your viewers and offer great content for them to use your site more.  That is what will help your seo.
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Hi Chris

Thanks for the info, makes perfect sense.  I have been using a web page call DirtyMarkup.com just to make sure everything conforms to w3c.
It’s a shame dreamweaver CS5 doesn’t seem to have that functionality unless I have missed it of course as I’m not very experienced.

Thanks again

Simon
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GaryCommented:
Cannot remember where I saw it but Matt Cutts said W3C compliance was not a factor in SEO

I said it doesn't care about the HTML, that may not be strictly true in the future if they decide to use the new HTML5 tags for deciding what is what - but still wouldn't have an effect on SEO.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
> dreamweaver CS5 doesn’t seem to have that functionality

It has had it since the mx days.  File > Validate.  I just use http://validator.w3.org/
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Hi Scott

Thanks for your info.  I also use w3.org for my last scan just to make sure its 100%.

Its a shame you just cant do the whole site in one go though but I guess that's me just being lazy and always tight for time.

Thank again

Simon
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Hi Guys

Would like to thank you all for your input.  Points coming all your way!!!

Cheers

Simon
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
DirtyMarkup looks like it just tidies up the presentation of your code (so it looks nice). This is not the same as W3C Compliant code.

As for it not effecting SEO - if you ensure compliance then you know your document will render properly. If you don't ensure compliance then you have no idea how it will render, and what the search engine will 'see' is anybody's guess.

I agree it's about the content, but content presented in bad code is never going to be as effective as content presented in good code!

Run Google's home page against the validator - 26 errors and 4 warnings !! Says it all really :)
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GaryCommented:
best viewed in Netscape Navigator
Ahh the good ol' days heehee
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Hi Chris

I think DirtyMarkup is cleaning the code.  If I run a code check w3c validator first I get errors, then I clean with DM then recheck with w3c comes back with good code.

Give it ago

Thanks Si
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Just tried cleaning my CSS on DirtyMarker and it screwed my it!  Good job I had a backup.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
>Good job I had a backup
Try developing on a folder that syncs to dropbox.  Each time you save it creates a version history that does not count towards your total allowed space.  If you mess up, go to dropbox online and view the version history.  If you ht save 10 times, you will see 10 copies sorted by date with the time stamp.  I think google drive and ms onedrive does this too.
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
Git :)
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cybersiAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys
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