For the sake of this article we are going to limit the mark-up to XHTML however the term mark-up refers to a sequence of characters and letters (sometimes referred to as tags) that form the structure of a web based document.
XHTML is the characters that the browsers we use interpret or render into the web pages that are seen on the computer monitor. Since HTML mark-up was first developed in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee we have been through a fair few changes/upgrades and improvements.
XHTML is thought to be a much cleaner, stricter language to use and is therefore now considered standard in almost all web development companies.
A very simple web page looks like this:
Totally Meaningless to the average bod however to a web designer/ developer and more importantly to a search engine, every squiggle and tag has a meaning. It is vital to the cross browser compatibility and SEO that each and every page is seen and read the way that you intended.
Some search engines can handle minor ticks or imperfections but on the whole search engines have been developed to obey the XTML standards, and could potentially fail to index your pages or lose data if they cannot parse the page correctly.
For example if we were to remove one of the ‘>’ from a section of the above code, the search engine would know where that tag started but would lose track of the end tag and might submit incorrect content. Worse still the search engine indexes (goes through) your page and gets lost after a missing head tag, drops out and doesn’t index any of you page at all.
So all that Keyword research you have done and relevant content you have written could all be going to waste!
How we check your code
As mentioned earlier in the article/blog Tim Berners-Lee created HTML mark-up and who also happens to be the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who just happen to have a free valuator that check pages to W3C Standards…….. Who would have thunk it!!
So you can use either W3C XHTML Validator or WDG HTML Validator personally I would stick to W3C Schools Validator.
So whether you are having your web site done by a professional developer or doing your own web pages, do yourself a favour…. make sure that they are XHTML validated. It’s free and helps ensure that the search engine spiders can at least read the content on the page ……. which nicely leads me onto relevant content and keywords.
Ok Ok enough for now
A Google statement released on their official blog has announced their latest round of updates, called caffeine.
"For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions."
Matt Cutts has done the rounds with interviews and put up some further information on his blog. So far we have been told that the changes are under the hood so nothing will look different and that this has been worked on for about 2 years. Presumably, more will come out in time to come. Matt has said,
"Most of the search result rankings should be the same, because what’s changing is infrastructure under the hood of the search engine. But Caffeine is a radical revamp (more like a complete rewrite) of large parts of our system, so not all the rankings will be unchanged."
More as we get it.
A new study by iProspect has demonstrated just how effective using offline marketing to influence your online presence can be. The study states that 40% of online searchers make a purchase after being influenced by an offline channel? ‘Offline marketing effects online sales’, is npt an attention grabbing headline, but 40% is a newsworthy figure.
While other studies and news articles around at the moment all seem to be targeting online marketing, the study by iProspect demonstrates how a joined up marketing mix pays dividends. Pay per click, blogging and social media are all grabbing marketing headlines, taking up the bloggers interest and generally doing the rounds. Like the tech bubble of the late 90s is this report showing us that online marketing is starting to froth into a bubble and its time to rethink?
The iProspect study asked users what prompted them to search online for a particular company, product, service or slogan. The results were:
- Television advertisement: 44%
- Word of Mouth: 41%
- Magazine/Newspaper Advertisement: 35%
- Radio: 23%
- Billboard: 13%
One commentator said "These figures provide a signpost to digital marketers. They show the importance of knowing the strengths and compatibilities of all channels…"
One thing is now clear, regardless of how popular or important your online marketing becomes, offline needs to a considered part of your marketing mix.