The web is becoming ever more standards orientated and much of it has to do with the interpretation of web content across an ever increasing range of devices and software. The standards that we have to comply with are laid down by an organisation called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short) and Google also has a role to play in this. W3C is responsible for determining the syntax and methodologies for all of the commonly used web coding techniques, most notably HTML and CSS. The current standard is HTML5 and CSS3 and they also offer on-line code validation testing tools. Compliant code is considered to be one of the ranking ‘signals’ used by Google to determine the quality of a website, it also has significance in terms of the reliability and performance across multiple platforms.
You can find out if your site validates with the W3C tools below. The HTML one is specifically designed to check your page HTML against the HTML5 standard. If it doesn’t pass (more than 80% won’t!) and the resulting errors sound like gobbledygook to you – then don’t despair! I will be happy to make the necessary changes to the code which will give every page on your site the ‘green light’. Also, below is a link to the W3C CSS validation tool. This one is a little more complicated to use as you will have to know the ‘path’ to your CSS file’s. CSS validation is even more important than HTML validation.
A wide variety of things will have an impact on your page load speed. Generally, you should attempt to achieve a relatively low data quantity for any page on your site. This means optimised or sensibly sized images, a low redundancy in CSS code and not having masses of requests for external files / resources in the header of your page. There are many other even more complex and esoteric factors that will impact on page load speed and these include server-side functions controlled by your htaccess file, things like browser cacheing and data compression, but all of these problems can be remedied.
Responsive design is a fancy term used to describe a website that automatically adapts to any screen size to provide the best User Interface (UI) characteristic for the device. Responsive design is very important as a large proportion of your site traffic is likely to come from small-screen devices. Most users now prefer to have a properly scaled interface on their mobiles – websites that require magnification gestures for reading and navigation are very off-putting and appear enormously outdated on mobiles.
There are many more ‘issues’ and hidden technical faults / omissions that can have a negative impact on your website’s overall performance and ratings with Google (and other search engines) and they range from navigation errors, canonicalization (apparent duplicate content problems), redirect errors, Open Graph, rich content tagging errors, site mapping issues and social registration problems to name a few.