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Penalty for invalid HTML – What’s Google’s stance on it?

Creating perfect and validated HTML code is an important building block for your SEO. Recently in one video Google’s distinguished engineer Matt Cutts explained its importance.

Creating a perfect HTML code for any website is no child’s play. One needs to be very accurate while building the HTML code. As the phrase goes – “To err is human”, you might have taken utmost care while building your website, there is always a possibility that some or the other mistake might creep in and break the webpage. That’s why you can fall back on Google’s Webmaster Tool which allows you to check and validate your HTML code and rectify any errors.

Now a day, the number of HTML purists is increasing, who will not launch your webpage until all the code is validated. But in reality you will still find many terribly coded HTML that ranks well in search result. What could be the reason? Does Google penalize for invalid HTML? Matt Cutts say: “No, Google does not penalize you if you have invalid HTML; because there would be a huge number of web pages like that”. If Google were to penalize each webpage that has poorly coded HTML, the number will go into hundreds of millions and it will result into poor search result. That is the reason why Google doesn’t penalize those poorly coded web pages.

Having perfectly coded HTML will no doubt yield good search results for your webpage. There are many advantages of it. Some of them are:

  • Validated code is easy to maintain.
  • It makes up gradation and editing easier.
  • It helps making proper indentation.
  • Validated code helps to keep bugs at low level.
  • In Google’s algorithm, quicker loading pages rank better in search results. Clean code can help you achieve this.
  • Clean and validated code helps your site to be free from hacks.
  • Cleanly coded webpage makes it easier to deploy web content across multiple devices.
  • Poorly coded HTML tables and forms are less accessible to the surfers.

Despite these advantages, we still encounter broken web pages with invalid HTML; this could be because of the laxity of coders to employ these good coding practices.

Currently Google does not penalize anyone for invalid HTML; however should Google change their mind in future and decide to rank web pages accordingly, poorly coded and pages appearing with invalid HTML will surely get punished. Therefore to keep your web page ranking top in Google’s algorithm it is imperative to have validated code. Start your validation today as “Prevention is always better than cure!!!”