Douglas Karr sent me a question that I get asked pretty often so I thought I’d share it with you here:
Can W3C compliance and accessibility impact your Search Engine Optimization?
Hey Doug thanks for the question, the answer is definitely maybe. Ok well that wasn’t much help but gives me the opportunity to go into a little more depth. From my experience having a site that is 100% code compliant doesn’t give you any SEO benefit. That said throwing up a page with complete disregard for valid code is looking for trouble. If you put your page into a validator and it comes back with hundreds of errors you may be looking for trouble. Depending on what your errors are you may have made it harder for a bot to crawl your website. However if you can get it down to handful of errors, it might not be worth the time obsessing over those last few details.
However I do want to talk about XHTML. if you are designing in XHTML with strict compliance you really should be 100% valid. If you have a website that has a high likely hood of winding up on a phone, or other mobile device 100% compliance makes sure your site has a better chance of not “breaking”. Until mobile browsers become more advanced, forgiving and standardized it’s going to be rough going and 100% W3C compliance is a really good idea.