It is essential for both search engine and people use that the markup (x)HTML of your website be as clean and semantically correct as possible (I’ll cover semantics in another article). This provides several benefits which are very important to people and search engines alike. Some of which are:

1. Faster page load times, whether being crawled by a “spider” or “bot” for indexing in the SERP or being loaded by a user in their web browser of choice.
2. Accuracy in presentation across different media types and web browsers.
3. Page content relevancy based on the use of proper semantic code and markup elements.
4. Higher control over presentation and specificity through CSS and less room for error in layout and styling.
5. Ease of use for individuals using screen readers to access your website.

We normally use XHTML Transitional on our projects because it allows the markup to be completely separated from the styling and layout of the content using CSS, helps maintain presentation in older browsers, and helps with future development and maintenance time by not making it too difficult for other programmers, old school or new school, to maintain or add to the site.

When deprecated elements, excessive classes or ids, or inline styles or javascript are used in the markup it creates what is known as “code bloat”. This means that the markup is not “clean” and can be interpreted infinite different ways by infinite different computers and browsers, including search engine algorithms. By removing these extra items and keeping markup clean and semantically correct, you are truly ensuring the best results in search engine indexing and usability for your viewing public.

Another benefit of using clean and accurate code is that as new popular web browsers and technologies are released they are all built (for the most part) to understand the standards or “rules” of markup. The added business benefit of having great markup is that your site will not have to be rebuilt to display correctly every time a new web browser is released, at least not for a few years.

There are many other techniques that can help you ensure that you are getting the most out of your code.  I will be writing several more articles on this and similar topics, so check back often.  If you have any questions or would like Trademark to assist you in evaluating the code of your site, please feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to help!

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