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 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