SEO Tip #102: Is HTML Validation Necessary For Ranking?

Matt Cutts: Today we have a guest to answer today’s question. Danny how would you answer that question?

Danny: Well a lot of websites can have invalid code but render just fine because modern browsers do a good job dealing with bad code. And so it’s not that the code has to be absolutely perfect but whether or not the page is going to render well for the user in general.

It makes sense to still list these websites. It makes sense not to be that specific and plus people make a lot of mistakes because they are using different HTML editors or maybe they are doing some hand coding and they are little tiny things that aren’t going to have that big of an impact.

If you were trying to be very, very specific I suspect and Google would certainly know but you’d have a lot of websites that would be left out for no good reason because they would still be validating just perfectly fine.

Matt: And you were even joking a little bit about

Danny: I did and for example in this question there is a grammatical error in it. I can understand what the question is about perfectly well but if I were going to invalidate even taking questions based on them being perfectly grammatically correct then it would be lost.

And so in that case if you will Google can understand and deal with pages that are perfectly grammatically correct and perfectly HTML correct and it can also understand when you are being a little more casual because basically it understands what the page is about.

Matt:So Danny nailed that. I don’t really have much to add other than usually if a page doesn’t validate it still can look perfectly fine in a browser, which is exactly what you said at the very beginning. So great question and thanks for sending it in.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.