W3C Markup Results: Some surprising finds

 In Internet, Web Design

*Ok so either Live Writer is useless or I am a moron and can’t do posts with tables very well. I have quickly done screen shots of the info and posted that, if I get some time later I will redo it all*

So my last post was a bit of a rant about my Blog not validating and that I have decided to check some other sites around the Internet to see how popular developing websites with valid markup actually is.

My first lot of checks were Blogs from around the Internet, most of them are listed in Technorti’s Popular Blogs list however I have added several other ones that either I read frequently or I perceive to be quite big.


Every singe Blog that I checked that was in the Popular Technorati list failed the Validation test. I suppose blogs can argue that at least they are viewable properly through the RSS feeds.

The next list are websites mainly from the Alexa Top 500 Sites, however I have thrown a few in of my own.

WebsitesValidation And againt he majority of sites fail the validation. 2 sites that did pass that were interesting were www.msn.com and www.mininova.org. I can not believe Microsoft uses better markup than Google, and glad to see mininova one of the biggest bit torrent sites is leading the way in terms of valid markup.

Next are sites that promote accessibility and usability.


Interestingly Browsealoud advertise they conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines priority 1, 2, and 3 and say their pages have Valid HTML. Unless some glitch happened when I checked this claim is incorrect at the time of writing.

Next I checked some popular Newspapers and News sites.


Not a single site I checked passed the validation, with the BBC.co.uk having a staggering 1272 errors on the home page! It is also written in HTML 4.01 Transitional which is not very Web 2.0 of the BBC is it?

Next up I checked the Top 20 Universities based on the list at the Times Good University Guide


12 of the top 20 Universities have errors in their markup, quite shocking really considering our Universities are so big on accessibility etc. If we take a look at the worst offender Imperial College London with 590 errors They use Javascript Menues to navigate the site, though they do use NnScript to provide text links if you do not have Javascript. According the accessibility page the website conforms with WAI priority 1 and 2 checkpoints however I ran a check using WebXACT and the website fails all 3 Checkpoints with 2 errors in Priority 1, 3 in Priority 2 and 2 in Priority 3, with a further 44 warnings.

Finally I checked some Government and Organization sites.


Again majority of the sites failed. I am glad the Job Centre failed as from what I recall it is the worst and most non user friendly website ever. This also failed all 3 WAI priorities based on the check at WebXACT, I also could not see any accessibility information on the main page.

So in conclusion it would seem not many companies/organizations are too bothered about the W3C standards. I am not entirely sure how accessible all the above sites are, I do realise that there is a lot more to it than just validating your markup, however it was interesting to see how rare valid websites were.

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Showing 9 comments
  • James

    Yeah we try and keep our main pages valid. Though to be honest its just html 4.01 trans at the moment, we really need to redevelop it with xhtml etc but its all time an money though. You would think some of the companies/organisations would make an effort though, some of them probably have massive budgets for when they develop their websites and it is not THAT hard to make the site valid.

  • Vancouver Island SEO

    I’ve always found it humorous how badly coded most sites are. Its almost like there built not to rank, and not to be compatible with anything other then IE. I’ll admit I probably have a few pages that don’t fully validate, but I always try to make a conscious effort to do excessive testing. Cheers.

  • multippt

    It is sad to know that many people do not really bother about standards. (Well, at least some do bother.)

  • Vancouver Island SEO

    Ya I know the feeling, I made the switch around 15 months ago and haven’t regretted it since. I only work with Transitional which makes it much easier to get used to. If your debating which go with Transitional as you can use both a rel nofollow tag and a target blank tag. Some links just aren’t worth passing weight, or authority to πŸ™‚ But one thing is for sure your coding quality will definitely go up as it is much pickier πŸ™‚

  • James

    Funny that you commented today I was going to play around with XHTML today and at least make a start on the site. I am actually the SEO person but our designer has to many jobs on so I am going to try and develop my skills a little bit. We shall see!

  • Paintworkz Web Design

    Its really surprising when we find such in the top listed sites. And it always gives up a bad wave ongoing on it.

  • Stuart Rutter

    I think it’s a shame that web standards are not more widely adopted. I have worked as a UI developer for the last 9 years and appreciate the intricacies required to write valid code. The biggest surprise for me has been the BBC’s website closely followed by the public sector and universities. I wonder if the results are down to badly published content via CMS systems rather than the HTML framework surrounding the content. Any thoughts!!

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