Google’s Position on Invalid HTML – Does it penalize websites?

Creating a perfect HTML code that validates every time is not the easiest of tasks. That is one of the reasons why Google’s Webmaster Tools has a feature that allows you to check if there are errors in your HTML code. Validated code is extremely important.

So, what happens if you have a invalid HTML code?

Although everybody takes care to have write the perfect HTML code, at times mistake do happen. And when such mistakes happen you get errors and warnings from Google. Matt Cutts Google’s engineer has stressed the need to ensure HTML code is clean and without errors. According to Mr. Cutts a clean code is maintainable and easy to upgrade.

There is no doubt that the number of HTML purists in the world is increasing. Such purists will not launch a website until all the code is validated, needless to say such websites do rank higher. However, at the other end of the spectrum you have websites which have horrible HTML code and yet they rank high. When asked why this was so, Mr. Cutts replied that Google has to work with webpages that are available and it is their crawlers that compensates for poorly coded pages.

If Google were to penalize each and every webpage that was poorly coded the number would run into hundreds of millions and penalizing each one would result in poor search quality. Therefore Google does not penalize poorly coded pages. However, things could change in the future and Google might just decide to penalize such pages.

The future

Poorly coded page is a signal Google that might decide to look at when they decide to rank webpages in the future. However, Mr. Cutts feels that people should ensure all pages are validated as a good practice and also as it helps in maintenance. In the long run this practice could also make you eligible for higher rankings.

Check before it is too late. At the most you will spend some time relooking at all the code, but in the long run you will be glad you undertook this exercise.

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