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Old 07-11-2006, 05:08 PM
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Arrow Google Webmaster Guidelines: Do as I say and not as I do?

I am one among a number of web profesionals who prefers their (X)HTML, CSS, and other code to meet current web standards.
One current incentive for webmasters and designers to use clean code could be Google's Webmaster Help Center - Webmaster Guidelines.

In this document, Google presents information which they say "will help Google find, index, and rank your site." For those of us interested in SEO, this is what we want to happen.

One of their Design and Content Guidelines is as follows:
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML
We all know to check for broken links. That has been an ongoing duty for webmasters since the inception of the WWW. But what about "correct" HTML?

In my view, this means "according to current standards". If your page is HTML 3.01, then mark it up as such. If you are using XHTML 1.0 strict, the markup should reflect that standard.

So then, what kind of HTML is Google using? Since so many of us (in the web business or not) use Google, shouldn't we look to them for a bit of inspiration as to how we should be constructing our web sites?

A DOCTYPE tag is presented at the top of an HTML document, before even the HTML tag itself. It provides browsers with a little hint as to how the code is to be interpreted.

A quick look at the Yahoo! home page shows that they HTML 4.01 transitional, as does DMOZ. Wikipedia uses XHTML 1.0 strict.
Interestingly enough, Google doesn't provide a DOCTYPE at all, leaving the browser to interpret the code as it sees fit. This is often referred to as "quirks mode".

The HTML 4.01 specifications, and later XHTML versions, specify that a DOCTYPE must be included. Leaving out the DOCTYPE is implying that your HTML is of a version prior to HTML 4.01.

In order for your code to be "correct" then, it must validate. Validating your code can be done any number of ways, but the simplest is to use one of the on-line validators such as the W3C Markup Validation Service.

When you have the validator examine the code from Goggle's main page, it fails, utterly and miserably. To be fair, Yahoo! also fails. DMOZ, however, is valid HTML 4.01, and Wikipedia validates as XHTML 1.0 strict.

Since Google has no DOCTYPE, the validator is left to make a "best guess" as to what type of HTML is being used. You can tell the validator to use a particular version, regardless of the DOCTYPE, but no matter which is chosen, Google fails.

How well would Google's own site be indexed by the Google search engine? Probably fairly well. Millions of pages indexed by Google do not conform to any web standards. They tell us in their guidelines that "correct HTML" can be an important issue in having our site indexed properly, yet they fail to comply with the current standards for (X)HTML.

I think it might be time for Google to "put their money where their mouth is." How about Google showing us how good they really are by bringing their HTML into the twenty-first century? It seems to me that perhaps they have been so busy with their behind-the-scenes programming that they have neglected their web interface, through which the world sees them. How easy is Google to use for someone with a screen-reader or a PDA?

Web developers frequently make use of the wide variety of tools Google has available, such as Google Maps, and AdSense. It can be very frustrating when you create a web page that meets (X)HTML and Accessibility standards only to be greeted by validation errors when you attempt to insert code provided by Google.

So, as web developers, how do we impress upon Google our desire for valid code? Perhaps this forum will provide us some small voice that might be heard by people in the right places, or we might go so far as to set up a blog in order to reach a wider audience and get more input from the community.

After all, I would be just be happy if the copy/paste code google produces for us in order to use tools and such of theirs was written as valid code instead of tag soup.

Yes it would be nice if google's own website validated but I care more about mine and those I build for clients.

How do the rest of the community see this issue, if it is an issue at all for them? All input will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-12-2006, 11:35 AM
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Good post, Webnauts.
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Old 07-12-2006, 12:28 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks

Thanks John. I hope I will get some inputs here.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:11 PM
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Nice post Webnauts. I'm with you on wishing Google would upate their site and start using valid code. In fact the only reason you won't find AdSense search on my site is because it doesn't validate. After spending the time getting my own code to validate and listing it as a benefit of having me develop a site for someone it didn't seem right to throw in some code that doesn't validate.

I'm not sure it's at the top of Google's list of things to do though. They're more concerned with finding relevant information and there's a lot of good information out there on poorly coded sites.

I bet though if Google gave even just a slight boost in the results to validating pages we'd start seeing a lot more of them.

And like you I'm much more concerned with my own site and my client's sites than I am with Google's site.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:40 PM
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I found an interview with Google Software engineer Matt Cutts here http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-11-17-n52.html were he said:

Quote:
"...Google’s home page doesn’t validate and that’s mostly by design to save precious bytes. Will the world end because Google doesn’t put quotes around color attributes? No, and it makes the page load faster..."
Excuse me? Google' home page doesn't validate, and thats mostly by design to save precious bytes? Can't Google save precious bytes with making their code valid, using quotes around color attributes and page load faster? And while their pages don't validate, makes them load faster? Have I probably missed something here?

Quote:
"...We can’t throw out 40% of the web on the principle that sites should validate; we have to take the web as it is and try to make it useful to searchers, so Google’s index parsing is pretty forgiving..."
And, how can Google take the web as it is, and try to make it useful to searchers? Can someone explain me how is that possible?
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Old 07-12-2006, 05:27 PM
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Evidences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vangogh
I bet though if Google gave even just a slight boost in the results to validating pages we'd start seeing a lot more of them.
Can you provide any evidences? That would been very helpful.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:20 AM
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Good post...and webnauts he is agreeing with you.

As a habit I validate all my new sites that I create. However I do notice that G doesn't give a damn. I have sites that are terrible HTML (from the old days) and they rank well with lots of pages indexed. Seems a terrible thing and the OP is 100% correct in his views. Basically the "correct HTML" doesn't mean validated..it just means you have some semblence of tags in it.

hehe
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webnauts
I found an interview with Google Software engineer Matt Cutts here http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-11-17-n52.html were he said:



Excuse me? Google' home page doesn't validate, and thats mostly by design to save precious bytes? Can't Google save precious bytes with making their code valid, using quotes around color attributes and page load faster? And while their pages don't validate, makes them load faster? Have I probably missed something here?



And, how can Google take the web as it is, and try to make it useful to searchers? Can someone explain me how is that possible?
There are tons of things which matt says and I somehow don't believe any of it... They point you to get links from only relevant websites, not only to get ranks but indexed even, and then somehow someday a million spam pages get indexed... As if they had links from very relevant websites.
 
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:38 AM
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Google has an "accessible" version they are working on. http://labs.google.com/accessible/

Accessibility does not require valid code under the newer Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 but is required for double A compliancy under the older Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. Not sure if it is required under US Section 508.

Google is after content and valid code has no relevance, however that’s not to say my mark-up is not to highest level possible and everyone should be aiming for the latest HTML 4.01 Strict.

Testing should be first. For example if you do create a valid HTML 4.01 or the slower (X)HTML Strict you may have older browsers crashing when there is no language attribute for JavaScript tag (that is not supported under the new strict standards). There for Invalid code is ok as long as it can be justified.

I am sure Google “Test” there work. Much of Googles advances will never meet Accessibility guiltiness such as Google Maps and AdSense because it is impossible to do so.

Last edited by Johan007; 07-21-2006 at 04:45 AM.
 
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeet
There are tons of things which matt says and I somehow don't believe any of it... They point you to get links from only relevant websites, not only to get ranks but indexed even, and then somehow someday a million spam pages get indexed... As if they had links from very relevant websites.
Great point!

Someone asked in another forum:

Quote:
Would asking another webmaster to exchange links be blackhat, under the strict guidelines offered by Google?
And I said:

I wouldn't really say so. But before I answer your question, I think I must make something clear here:

If Google had strict guidelines, Google would have been kicked out of its own index, since he exists. Why?

One of their Design and Content Guidelines is as follows:
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML

Does Google have correct HTML? NO!

On the other hand, Matt in an interview here http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-11-17-n52.html said:
Quote:
"...We can’t throw out 40% of the web on the principle that sites should validate; we have to take the web as it is and try to make it useful to searchers, so Google’s index parsing is pretty forgiving..."
And there I asked myself: How can Google take the web as it is, and try to make it useful to searchers? Can Google transform unsusable web sites and export them in a usable form? I do not get that. ???

Also, isn't Matts statement a contradiction to the Google guidelines? Personally I do not care. Our web site comforms all standards and techniques available on the web anyway.
So we are sure on the safe side. And besides we design sites for humans, and not for machines. What sense would it make designing web sites for machines, which they may not be accessed and used by humans? Just to have in higher SERPS? WOW! That would be a great business strategy. ;D

Now back to your question.

It depends on what are you willing to achieve with links exchange, and with who are you doing that with. That means, that you should consider some on- and off-site factors of your links exchange partners site(s).

Key: Trust Rank factors! But watch out: That is not only the site(s) PR (Google green toolbar scale)!
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:38 AM
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Sorry. I did a double post. Mods please delete this one.
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
Google has an "accessible" version they are working on. http://labs.google.com/accessible/
Exactly. It is in a testing phase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
Accessibility does not require valid code under the newer Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 but is required for double A compliancy under the older Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
Are you aware that the partially the new guidelines suck? Are you into accessibility and discussions about this issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
Not sure if it is required under US Section 508.
If not, I hope it will be sometime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
Google is after content and valid code has no relevance, however that’s not to say my mark-up is not to highest level possible and everyone should be aiming for the latest HTML 4.01 Strict.
Who is talking about latest HTML 4.01 Strict? It can be HTML Transitional, Loose, XHTML Transitional or anything else your heart can wish. It just have to be properly marked up! VALID CODE!

Try to do programming with invalid code, and lets talk about functionality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
Testing should be first. For example if you do create a valid HTML 4.01 or the slower (X)HTML Strict you may have older browsers crashing when there is no language attribute for JavaScript tag (that is not supported under the new strict standards). There for Invalid code is ok as long as it can be justified.
Can you be more specific? Can you provide an example here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan007
I am sure Google “Test” there work. Much of Googles advances will never meet Accessibility guiltiness such as Google Maps and AdSense because it is impossible to do so.
Are you serious? If yes, please start another thread, and we can discuss what is possible and what is not.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:45 AM
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great thankx for the infos
 
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