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You’ll hear website designers often refer to W3C standards. But what does that mean, exactly? What is W3C and is it necessary?

W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium. It is an organization committed to establishing consistent standards for web design and other technical aspects of the Web in order to ensure that everyone anywhere can access the Web and participate in its powerful communication qualities. Their goal is worthy and honorable.

However, building a website that is not compliant with W3C standards will not result in any penalties or degradation in search engine rankings. You do not have to build a site that is W3C compliant in order to be successful, earn you money or grow in popularity.

That said, there are several reasons why you might want to build your website to be compliant with W3C standards.

  1. If your site validates with W3C then it will be seen as more credible in the eyes of many Internet users.
  2. By validating your site with W3C you show that you are sensitive to the needs of handicapped Web users.
  3. You can often find egregious errors in your code through the W3C validation process.
  4. If you are converting your website from one rendering technology to another (for instance, from HTML to XML or from Web browser technology to mobile browser) then W3C can assist in that process.

The most important thing to understand about W3C is that it will not give you any advantage in the search engines to have your site validated. Non-validated sites can outrank you for your keywords. They can outperform you in PPC. They could get a higher PageRank or receive other benefits that your site does not. But it wouldn’t hurt you to learn more about the standards that make the Web a better place.

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