October 2006

How Important is Validated, Compressed and Optimized Website Code for Google, Yahoo and Msn?

By Asif Iqbal

Code of the website is the very first element that is unfortunately ignored by most SEOs, website code allows search engine bots to go through the web pages, and if bots are unable to understand code they won’t be able to access content of the web pages because content is kept within the code, this is enough to tell you about the importance of website code.

Three major elements of Website Code Optimization:

  1. Code Validation
  2. Code Compression
  3. Code Optimization

Code Validation

Today web designers and developers, who use WYSIWYG tools to design and development websites. These tools are really a great help especially when it come to time saving, these tools provide huge relaxation to designers and developers. All these tools can be very effectively used by trained and experienced designers and developers, but the real problem is that new designers and developers get trained using these tools that’s why they have very poor concept of coding. All WYSIWYG tools are very easy to use and if they are used improperly they can generate GARBAGE, which makes webpage HEAVIER and MEANINGLESS to search engine bots.

Search engines can’t see your webpage, they send their BOTS to crawl all web pages, and these bots work on ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. They ONLY UNDERSTAND CODE, if your web page code is not validated they will stop reading from there and will evaluate your web page on the basis of received information. If you want search engines to read everything you have at your web page, validate your code before putting it online.

Code Compression

There is another very important issue, which can make your webpage more complex and less valuable when it comes to search engine’s point of view. Webpage visitors see only upfront of the webpage, they don’t care either webpage code is compressed or not. But you have to take care of code compression, so that your valuable content can be read by search engine bots and will be able to get good ranking in search engines.

Search engine bots always try to extract content from web pages, they don’t like to read code, though they can understand the code. On-page CSS and JavaScript declaration push your valuable content down, since top 2000 initial characters including code are very crucial to create good meaningful impression to search engines. That’s why you should try to call external JavaScript and CSS and also should try to make short naming for CSS classes, this way your code will be compressed and there won’t be any visual difference to your website visitors.

Code Optimization

Code Validation and Compression comes in Code Optimization, but there is more to do with the Code. Code Optimization is basically using search engine friendly CODE (Tags & Attributes) with their PRIORITIES and LIKINGS to search engines. Search engines like “TITLTE, HEADINGS, BOLD, ITALIC, UNDERLINE, ANCHOR LINK, TEXTUAL HYPERLINK, IMAGE HYPERLINK, PARAGRAPH, NUMBERING and BULLETS TAGS”, they also like “ALT and LINK TITLE ATTRIBUTES”. All these mentioned Tags and Attributes will give your content value to search engines. You should try to utilize all mentioned search engine friendly CODE (Tags & Attributes) as much as possible to take good rankings.

You should take care of your website code periodically (weekly or at least monthly), check your website code for BROKEN LINKS, MISSING and ORPHAN PAGES. Try to update “robots.txt and sitemap” whenever there is a change at the website. Check your website for CROSS BROWSER COMPATIBILITY, especially for Internet Explorer and Firefox.