Google’s answer to W3C Validation of your website
In a recent query session on Google’s Webmaster Central channel on youtube, a Google spokesperson was answering the question – “Why doesn’t Google validate according to the W3C (Markup Validation Service standards)”? Google had a simple, logical and a well rehearsed response -
“While Validation may be good internally (for your website/organization), we have to make sure that the number of bytes returned to the users is as small as possible”, and added, that “Google does NOT provide any boost in ranking to pages that are validated”.
Now, those two sentences probably sum up the interview, and require some explaining, notwithstanding how casually they have been quoted. But first, a background check. The W3C validation is a service provided by the World Wide Web Consortium that prescribes a set of HTML coding standards for web pages. The service also allows coders to check for any markup errors in the pages authored by them. The objective of the HTML validation standards is similar to the objective behind traditional accounting practices or programming conventions – to produce Web pages that are:
- Neat (user-friendly)
- Accessible (from different devices)
- Compatible (with different multimedia formats)
- Universally understood (similar displays on different browsers), and
- Easy to update.
Despite all the apparent advantages, a majority of web pages on the internet are not validated. In fact, w3c and wikipedia confirm that less than 20% of the major search engine and browser websites are validated and error free.
Reason: What Google says in the interview.
If you were to design a web page, the most primary of your targets will be:
a) to keep the page loading times as low as possible; and
b) to ensure that your page is compatible with all common browsers in the market.
And the prospect of tweaking with your optimized HTML coding to even slightly increase your page size or decrease compatibility with browsers, is something that is generally seen as avoidable, in spite of however form of validation that may bring to your page. Also, the SEO benefits that are often stated in support of W3C validation are indirect and unquantifiable, at best, and validated pages receive no special attention from Search Engines; as affirmed by Google. The spokesperson also went on record saying that, “We would love if a Googler would spend 20% time trying to make sure we validate, and I think we can validate and still have a small page size.” Clearly, Google thinks of validation as frivolous or something that occupies a secondary priority at best.
For rhetoric, when a major web entity doesn’t care to validate, would you? Let us know what you think about it. If you liked reading this post on the KPMRS blog, do subscribe to our feed now!