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Will Invalid HTML Affect PageRank?

Everybody knows that web pages with invalid HTML code or HTML code that do not comply with the Web standards will render much slower that those that are coded with valid HTML. Though modern browsers disregard minor issues such as missing table tag, serious errors such as incorrect DOCTYPE do affect the accessibility of web content. HTML validation allows easy loading and easy maintenance. Error-free HTML coding ensures neat, clean and properly organized web pages so that making changes in the future becomes much easier. Validating websites for invalid HTML is therefore regarded as a good practice for website quality. W3C validation is the accepted global standard for HTML and XHTML documents.

From an SEO point of view, it’s important to know if valid HTML is relevant when it comes to your Google rankings in organic search. The answer is NO. So if you link your invalid HTML with PageRank and assume that page validations can help improve the search rank of your website, then you are wrong. In a recent video, Matt Cutts says that websites with clean codes and valid HTML have their advantages, particularly when it comes to site upgrade, but confirms that Google will not penalize websites that have invalid HTML.

Cutts says that Google has to work on making web pages available and that there are hundreds of websites without valid HTML. Google’s crawler has to therefore compensate and deal with lot of syntax errors and invalid HTML. If Google penalizes sites for not having valid HTML, innumerable web pages would be affected.

When it comes to achieving higher PageRank, the most important consideration is content quality. In fact, if you have invalid HTML, but good, informative and user-friendly content and proper SEO, you would be able to achieve higher search ranking. Cutts concludes that validating websites and fixing invalid HTML code is good for site maintenance, not for improving page rank.

Here’s an example to show you that Google does not care about valid HTML. Typing ‘SEO’ in the Google search bar and Wikipedia shows up on top:

SEO Google Search

Now, use the W3C HTML validation tool to check out the Wikipedia URL. You see up to 13 errors and 7 warnings.

W3C HTML Validation

So the message is clear. Don’t’ waste too much time on HTML validation. Optimize your web pages with quality content and engage a professional SEO company to provide you with the right strategies to enhance your online presence.

About Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal is the Vice President of Managed Outsource Solutions, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to joining MOS, he worked as a physical therapist. Having worked in several rehabilitation clinics, Rajeev has learned the importance of good medical records for medical billing and liability issues and the importance of the good back and front office support. He has extensive knowledge in SEO, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription. He has worked with a number of large organizations to effectively manage and provide outsourcing solutions.