WordPress SEO for Real Estate Websites-Validation

icon_bigOkay, I am a TAD fed-up, just  TAD… At almost every Real Estate Internet Marketing event I attend, someone…some Internet-marketing-SEO-real-estate-social-media-twittering-facebook-connected-expert, says something to the effect of “The great thing about WordPress, is that is has UNBELIEVABLE on page SEO, straight out of the box.

Now while WordPress is not BAD, and in fact is significantly better than MOST flash intensive, java-laden REAL ESTATE Websites, it is really not (in the immortal words of Dr. Evil) “Two clicks and a bag of chips.”  In fact,l it has drevilsome pretty significant issues, “straight out of the box….”

The Good News?  Almost nothing that can’t be fixed, with a few (8-10) plugins, a smidgen of PHP, a smattering of existing code changes, and maybe a rub of your lucky rabbits foot…  (although that wasn’t really lucky for the rabbit, was it…)

This started as one REALLY long post… but I think it may end up as a bakers dozen or so…  A series of bite-size pieced nuggets to clean up your WP install and make the lean, mean, ranking machine you hoped for when you launched it…  Lets start with the Obvious and SLOWLY journey to the esoteric.. well not so fast, lets start with the esoteric..kind of.. go directly to the basics, and slowly get more advanced..

Theme Validation

There is, and always has been an ongoing argument about the necessity of Theme Validation.  Validating Code simply ensures that your page (or theme) conforms to a agreed upon technical  specification, which usually include a machine-readable formal grammar (and vocabulary.)

The reason is simple: search engine spiders need to interpret your source code. And while the Internet Explorert and Firefox are very forgiving of your coding errors, search engine spiders, such as Googlebot aren’t quite as kind.  Most browsers are very forgiving of bad code. If the browser can interpret the intent or meaning of the site then it will likely display an agreeable page. But search engine spiders are often not as forgiving and something as simple as an overlooked “tag  close” can cause the spider to read the code structure  differen tthen how the page is displayed in the browser.

My opinion? Most validation errors will not affect your SEO at all…  but the really bad ones, absolutely will.

The only thing you really need to be sure of is that there are no problems in the code structure that would prevent the search engine spider from parsing the code correctly. Proper validation does this.

While a page may still get ranked for keywords, improperly developed code may actually keep  the page from performing as well as it otherwise could.

The solution here is to ensure the site you are building, buying or developing is  W3C XHTML and CSS Validated .  If you are purchasing a site, ask.  If you are starting with a theme, make sure the theme is documented as compliant. Solid programmers and theme writers validate their code…

With that said, in most cases, if a page doesn’t validate it  probably still will work for adaptive technologies and search engines, however depending on the errors within the code, it’s not a guarantee.  Due to this, it’s best to try and take one extra precaution and  begin your project with valid code.

Next post in this series?  Something simple.. or is it?  Permalinks

PS: If you’re interested in amazing world class SEO, let us know.

6 thoughts on “WordPress SEO for Real Estate Websites-Validation”

  1. Okay, Jim. You KNOW how I can mess up code in WordPress like the best of them. And I STILL swear at the WP WYSIWYG editor when it rips out my and tags.

    Is there a tool that we less-than-patient Realtors can use to track and/or point out “validation errors” that you would recommend?

    So,

  2. Jim,

    Why do I feel like I just let the 300lb Gorilla out of the bag… This sort of thing will drive YOU crazy… First, it is important to know that we validate our themes, before we add plug ins… We hope that even if the plug ins are not compliant that the bots get far enough into our code that it doesnt really matter.. Second, not even I, (okay…sometimes) validate my posts… However, there are two ways (or more) to validate code… 1) Publish your post and then cut and paste your code into the Direct Markup Validator… 2) I saw a WP plugin that was actually written back in 2005? that some programmers love… it is called the WordPress XHTML Validator… Here is what they say about it..

    The WordPress XHTML validator analyzes and validates your entire weblog, and then shows you a list of invalid entries, explaining why each one is invalid and offering valid replacements. The analysis process is very fast: analyzing a weblog with over 400 posts and 2000 comments takes less than one minute. They also say “Now compatible with WordPress 2.1! (We are now on 2.7.1) So take your chances… your mileage my vary.

    http://rudd-o.com/projects/wp-validator/

  3. RE: 300lb Gorilla
    Hey! I resemble that remark! I definitely need to go on a diet. Oh, wait! There’s a 700lb Gorilla in the room too….Opps! That’s just an elephant.

    You’re right. This is not for the faint of heart. Without a xmllint compliant host server (read: Linux), this is not going to be able to parse through any xml files (read: sitemaps) or video feeds, like “flv-embed”, which I still use. So for those who don’t self-host their WP sites, this is probably not a good option.

    On my site it only found 883 invalid content entries. It actually REPLICATED and DOUBLED UP the errors in the code (read: did a BAD thing!) when I allowed it to try and “Fix using selected tool” It used “Tidy” (whatever the heck THAT is) or xmllint to try and fix them.

    What it DID do that was valuable, was identify those EXACTLY where those errors were and allow me to go in and remove them manually. So, not a wasted effort. And it focused my attention on the need for (reasonably) clean code.

    Thanks for the lesson, Jim. As usual, I’m humbled again by what I don’t know.

  4. Welcome and keep up the great work! Just found this site, and I’ve been enjoying the tips and discussions here.
    Im kind of new to site building but Im learning a lot from reading through the forums. Great Site

  5. Actually, Matt Cutts has said just the opposite. Google knows that most sites do not validate and they don’t want to punish the mom and pop online business.

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