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  1. #1
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Nifty Tool To Make Your Pages Validate
    Go to http://users.skynet.be/mgueury/mozilla/

    This is a firefox browser add-on. It gives you warnings and errors and then also provides you with fixed-up code so your pages will validate.

    I am still not completely sold on the idea that a web site needs to validate 100% to get good rankings, but it would be nice to make at least 1 site validate. Google used to list validation as something for webmasters to do in their webmaster guidelines - I am not sure how much it factors into SERPs however, if at all.
    This World is Not My Home
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  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Last time I checked, Google's home page doesn't validate. (Just checked again... 56 "errors".) I think that speaks volumes about the necessity to have pages that validate.

    google.com: 56 errors
    yahoo.com: 33 errors
    search.msn.com (live.com): 60 errors
    ask.com: 77 errors
    Michael Coley
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  3. #3
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    "Google used to list validation as something for webmasters to do in their webmaster guidelines - I am not sure how much it factors into SERPs however, if at all."

    It doesn't at all, 0. Matt Cutts even said this on video. Lots of old threads on this.

  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Yes, Google no longer mentions validation. I seem to remember it being listed in there guidelines a few years back however.

    Thanks guys for "validating" my suspicion that validation is not something to worry too much about with respect to SERPs.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  5. #5
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    This is a firefox browser add-on. It gives you warnings and errors and then also provides you with fixed-up code so your pages will validate.
    I have been using this too and love it. Everything I do goes through it.

    I have to agree though that it's not essential to validate, but I have been in the habit for so long that it's easy. I find some errors that actually effect the way things function. Others could find them another way, but it's my routine and it works for me.

    I don't try to validate affiliate links in some cases if I know that being valid breaks the tracking. The & vs & comes to mind as an example. I don't want perfection that hurts the bottom line.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Validation doesn't help with SERPs, but it can make your life a lot easier. The more valid you pages are the more likely they will look the same in all browsers on all platforms. Certainly not 100% likely, but it really helps.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  7. #7
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    I have been using this too and love it. Everything I do goes through it.

    I have to agree though that it's not essential to validate, but I have been in the habit for so long that it's easy. I find some errors that actually effect the way things function. Others could find them another way, but it's my routine and it works for me.

    I don't try to validate affiliate links in some cases if I know that being valid breaks the tracking. The & vs & comes to mind as an example. I don't want perfection that hurts the bottom line.
    I've got &s all over my code so that it validates. I had a problem when I was using this with PHP redirected links for Performics, so took my &s out of the redirected addresses - code still validates (parser stops reading those redirects)....

    I'm very interested in the "& vs &" hurting the bottom line that you mention above. I'll do a search on it, but would you mind elaborating here? Many thanks!!!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lschofield
    I'm very interested in the "& vs &" hurting the bottom line that you mention above. I'll do a search on it, but would you mind elaborating here? Many thanks!!!
    Linkshare will not track your sales if you replace "& by &" in your affiliate links. It will direct you to the right page BUT don't expect a commission on these links.
    From LinkShare help section:
    "Incorrect Copy and Paste - Even deleting one character can compromise our ability to track accurately.
    Front Page Character Insertion - The Web page editor adds 'amp;' to every '&' in the LinkShare code. (This is because the character '&' is represented in HTML as '&\ "
    After a quick check, I noticed many Wordpress bloggers using LinkShare links all with "& replaced by &"

  9. #9
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    Is that really true? Because LS has all that & nbsp thru the links which I always change. I know that's different from & amp but why would that affect tracking?

    And then as a side note Performics has & as & #38; in the links and I always just change it to &.

  10. #10
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I just grabbed the first SAS link I could and pasted it in the address bar of Firefox. It went to the merchant and the click tracked. After changing the first & in the URL to & it now gives the SAS /linkerror.html page.

  11. #11
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    What if with the SAS link you used what Performics has &#38 ;

    but all put together, had to put a space between the 38 and semicolon for it to show.

  12. #12
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    Trust - but why would that affect tracking?
    It's an old problem. I noticed it first in 1997. I was using one of the first version of FrontPage and "& was replaced by &" with no warning. I lost many sales for that reason. After a few heated discussions with Steve Messer, he had to admit the problem was on their side. It took them more than one year to put a warning on their site. To my knowledge it has never been solved, the LS rep confirmed it last year. And it's still in their help section.
    Performics, CJ, Shareasale have no problem with encoded links. It seems LinkShare could easily solve this problem. Why would that affect tracking? Just because "&" is not recognized by LS tracking.

  13. #13
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    So affiliates would be good all the way around just to use: , & etc. Without the extra stuff (html) ?

    Which I've always done to all my links regardless of network. I can just think of Performics or Linkshare that has that weird stuff in there.

    Whenever I see the nbsp, amp, #38 etc. I just take that out and leave the , &

    I'm not concerned with validation since it plays no part in the SERPS and the search engines themselves don't validate, I'm just concerned with the tracking.

  14. #14
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    I don't care for the validation either. My best ranking sites had the worse code in it. I even think it was a big advantage. I'm more careful with blogs, the code can break easily.

  15. #15
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I don't care for the validation either. My best ranking sites had the worse code in it.
    I am looking at a merchant site that dominates the SERPs for many of it's products and has for some time now.

    A validation check with HTMLTidy gives them 9173 warnings. They violate every rule of what is considered good SEO but are not doing anything considered evil. For example they must have 3000 links on their TBPR 5 home page. The site looks like early mid 90's and whois gives it Feb 1997.

    They have at least 1000 pages in G's main index. Too many examples like this to believe that valid code is much of a factor.

  16. #16
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    I guess its another reason for me to finish learning php/mysql and redirect them. Best of both worlds, you can validate AND leave the code alone so there are no tracking errors?... I have backlinks from W3 for valid code and tableless CSS design, which with my site's lack of many other links I think are too big to loose right now.

    As a note though, I have gotten sales through LS (GAIAM, DisneyShopping, OneHanesPlace, Overstock, Target (before their move), Paul Fredrick) and all those links have amp;s in them, but I wonder if maybe I'm not getting credit for as many as I should? I add amp;s with CJ and non-redirected Performics links as well and have gotten sales through both of those interfaces.

    No one has had any issues with removing nbsp; ? I would think that if you left those in, not only might your design look funny, but it would put a higher ratio of code on your page as well.

    I've noted in the past that LS states you must place the links EXACTLY as is, but I've always wondered how much they stick to that, and if its an enforceable policy of theirs, or if its (as is discussed here) due to tracking problems.

    It would be great if someone from LS could clarify on that point, but I have a VERY hard time getting ahold of them most of the time.
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  17. #17
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    "No one has had any issues with removing nbsp; ?"

    I've never seen any issues with removing that, I always remove it. And that is something they didn't have when I first started in 2001. That's something they added later on, don't remember when.

    edit: I guess around 2004 sometime, couple of old threads:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=23705&highlight=nbsp

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=23754&highlight=nbsp

    It seemed that extra code was causing problems for some people.

  18. #18
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    validator.w3.org Only thing/place I use. I validate just to do it. I don't really think it matters, it's more of just a validation for myself that my pages are coded correctly.

    Not sure what happened with search.msn.com, used to validate XHTML 1.0 Strict a year ago. I had a blog post from March '06, no longer avaliable, but then these were my findings.

    Note: This blog post was made shortly after the new Vista site became available (again, in early '06) at Microsoft.com and blog/forum/etc post after post were dogging them for their site not validating. I did a little looking around.

    Plus, I just like reliving some of my old blog rants sometimes.


    Many people continue to argue over developing web sites with completely valid code. This seems to fall in line with some of the most drawn out debates; PC vs Mac, Windows vs OSX vs Linux, table-based vs tableless code, etc. This debate seems to blur lines with some of the other debates. I've seen people recently slamming Microsoft for not producing valid code. It seems apparent that Microsoft is the only one that doesn't produce valid code and everyone else does. Or do they?

    The attack seems to be on Microsoft's new Windows Vista site. I'll agree, the main Vista home page does not validate (HTML 4.01 Transitional) with 12 errors. They're seemingly small errors that could be fixed in a minute or two. Looking at the code it could easily be fixed to validate XHTML 1.0 Transitional, that's how I validate my pages. Other pages of that area of the site have validation problems as well, probably just as minimal as the main page. So I decided to take a look around and see what else I could come up with per the validation argument.

    Example 1: microsoft.com
    Running the main page through the W3C validator shows that Microsoft can produce some valid code in the form of HTML 4.01 Transitional, despite the chatter that they can't.

    Example 2: getfirefox.com
    Only producing 2 errors, getfirefox.com does not actually validate (HTML 4.01 Strict).

    Example 3: spreadfirefox.com
    Well, maybe spreadfirefox.com does. Nope, that site actually produces 35 errors in an attempt to be XHTML 1.0 Strict.

    Example 4: apple.com
    Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional this page is not, producing 7 errors.. For the record, the Mac OSX main page doesn't validate either. Nor does the iTunes page which actually turns up an astounding 465 errors, although some errors usually lead to others so there's probably not 465 actual errors. At least one would hope not from such a prominent company.

    Example 5: linux.org & linux.com
    The Linux group. The biggest anti-M$!!!11111 group around. For sure they'll show Microsoft up and crank out some valid pages. Well, they don't. Linux.org doesn't validate HTML 4.01 Transitional with 22 errors and linux.com also does not validate, HTML 3.2 !, turning up 75 errors.

    Ok, so we've made our way through some of the top sites, at least in the operating system and browser field, with some very interesting results. Now let's take a look at the top 3 search engines and see what kind of validation they can produce.

    Example 6: google.com
    The minimalist google.com, no problems validating there. Woops, there are; No DOCTYPE found. 50 errors? If the almighty Google can't produce simple valid code then there's just no hope for the world (wide web). Hell, they can't even specify a DOCTYPE. froogle.google.com - 90 errors; news.google.com - no DOCTYPE, 1176 errors.

    Example 7: msn.com
    Ouch, so close. Only 2 small errors in an attempt to validate XHTML 1.0 Strict. Come on MSN, fix that and have a valid XHTML 1.0 Strict home page! . For the record, search.msn.com actually validates XHTML 1.0 Strict.

    Example 8: yahoo.com
    Shame on Yahoo!, 260 errors and no DOCTYPE found. Their errors are just bad coding, plain and simple. search.yahoo.com does not validate with no DOCTYPE and 43 errors.

    MSN, a division of Microsoft <g>, has a large portal home page, not just a minimal page with a search box, and almost validated XHTML 1.0 Strict! And their minimal search box page does validate XHTML 1.0 Strict. As far as minimal search box pages go, Google came in last of the three.

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