The Benefits of Web Standards


Or How to Build Your Site So Google Can Read It.

WWW standards compliance through a range of browsers and platforms ensures that your message gets to the most people possible and with a uniform experience. The World Wide Web ( consortium’s standards keep your web strategy “future proof.” Tools and format specifications stay in the public domain which help your web strategy and content evolve transparently and at a predictable pace. Standards ensure that the most possible devices will be able to use your site. Remember, you are not just serving pages to people. “Other than human” represents a sizable percentage of your visitors. Machine parsed content is required by everything from search engines, to cell phones, language translators, and screen readers for the sight impaired. Standards ensure that these computer agents can effectively make sense of your valuable data, infer meaning, and deliver appropriate results to their human counterparts. Semantic layout and structure ensures that web indexing/searching services like Google will understand not just the words, paragraphs, and phrases but their relationships to each other. If you lay out your page using a 3×3 table to achieve a particular look, say a header, some body text in columns, and a footer, computer agents may not be able to make sense of the data relationships among the different table cells. Further, if you use font-size tags to size headings, sub headings you convey no semantic information. You only convey a look. By using h1, h2, em, p, and strong tags properly you ensure that they convey meaning and structure to non-human agents (bolded text makes little sense to a computer). Results? To put it plainly, your web site will rank higher in Google. Since the look or style of the site is independent from the data it contains, you are free to redesign your site without the enormous expense and effort of duplicating the data entry. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) support has reached nearly 100% saturation through its implementation in all popular web browsers. If a visitor does not have a modern browser, or CSS support is poor, your site will be still be intelligible to them. When the presentation layer breaks down, your data still has a semantic structure of its own, which itself conveys form. Flexible style sheeting allows for a complete site redesign without modifying content in any way.

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