Code validation is still widely debated as to whether it is required for performance within the search engines. It is only a guess that the search engines don’t utilise it within their algorithm, but nobody is actually 100% sure on that fact. Tests are performed and results obtained with conflicting information whether code validation is taken into account. What’s new and interesting though, is the overwhelming popularity of XHTML.
XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language. XML was designed specifically to describe data, whereas HTML was specifically designed to display data. XHTML is aimed to replace HTML and is almost identical to HTML 4.01. XHTML is stricter, cleaner and a definitive of XML and HTML combined. With current HTML standards, whether your webpage code is validated or not has no impact that will stop the information being displayed within your browser. XML is a markup language and everything has to be marked up correctly.
HTML is great, in that errors don’t sacrifice the page whilst displayed on the Internet. Now, however, with the more frequent use of mobile phones and PDA’s for Internet access, these devices simply do not accept unacceptable codes with errors very well. This will no doubt start a debate on validation or not. As W3C states, “XHTML pages can be read by all XML enabled devices and while waiting for the rest of the world to upgrade to XML supported browsers, XHTML gives you the opportunity to write “well-formed” documents now, that work in all browsers and that are backward browser compatible”.
XHTML has only minor changes from HTML. So if your pages are HTML 4.01 compliant, then your ahead of the game already. Changing to XHTML has some of the following syntax requirements: attribute names must be in lower case, attribute values must be quoted, attribute minimization is forbidden, the id attribute replaces the name attribute and the XHTML DTD defines mandatory elements.
XHTML works hand in hand with CSS2. Both must be used in conjunction which forces the removal of repetitive code such as, fonts and styles. These must be placed within the CSS file. XHTML does not adapt to the use of tables well although they can still be used, they are just not the most ideal option. The idea is more based around the fact that you can position your pictures, text, even the entire page through CSS keeping the page code very minimal and very fast. Note though that this can be a time consuming process with either HTML or XHTML.
XHTML’s main advantage compared to HTML is faster streamlined code. Who knows what the future may bring with page validation and search engines? With XHTML requiring validation for operation, the search engines may begin to favour this in the near future. This will ensure clean quality pages are being fed to them, error free before they commence reading other on and off page techniques.
Search Engine Ranking by anthonyparsons.com