Is HTML validation necessary for ranking?

By | August 16, 2019

MATT: Hi. We have a guest to
answer today’s webmaster video question. The question comes from Jimmy
@Feldon, Wirsberg. Nice job getting your Twitter
handle in there by the way. Jimmy asks, “Hi Matt. In a previous video, you stated
that validation of HTML wasn’t really important
for ranking or SEO. This confuses me. Wouldn’t Google really want to
send its users to websites which would be broken for a lot
of them?” Danny, how would you answer that? DANNY: Well, a lot of websites
can have invalid code but actually render just fine,
because a lot of modern browsers do a good job dealing
with bad code. And so, it’s not so much that
the code has to be absolutely perfect, but whether or not the
page is going to render well for the user in general. So 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’re using different HTML editors,
or maybe they’re doing some hand coding. They’re 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: In valedectori. You were even joking a little
bit about this. DANNY: I did. So, for example, in this
question, there’s a grammatical error that’s in it,
and 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.
In that case, if you will, Google can both understand
and deal with pages that are perfectly grammatically
correct, and perfectly HTML correct, and it
can also understand when you’re 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 the browsers, which is
exactly what you said at the very beginning. So, great question. Thanks for sending it in.

37 thoughts on “Is HTML validation necessary for ranking?

  1. Andrew Bailey Post author

    I dislike the 'validation' police, you know the ones… they turn javascript off, max out their font size, view every page in 20 different browsers, hate tables, hate frames and always own a crappy website 😉

  2. ANDiTKO Post author

    Ok thats a very good question that i was wondering about. But can you please answer to me this:

    If Page "A" has the same PR kewords/metadata/text as page "B" but page "B" has a valid code while page "A" dont. Will google show page "B" before "A" because it has valid code?

  3. Wesley Overdijk Post author

    @Carbontm Well, I'm one of those people, yet my websites are perfectly fine. It's for sad little twats, such as yourself, that it becomes annoying, as you have no clue on how to solve stuff without hacking around. As long as you know how it works, it's not a problem. (Although I do hate people who support IE6, that's just insane)

  4. فائز الشهري Post author

    @ANDiTKO It's not my place to say, but if page B has more impact on the site, and has extremely superior content, then I wouldn't be surprised. A F.A.Q in a site of mine ranked ahead of the index page once due to the many insightful answers, but then I built backlinks for the index. 😉

  5. Andrew Bailey Post author

    @RWOverdijk I'll show you mine if you show me yours, websites that is 😉

  6. jonathan becker Post author

    Does this mean that Danny Sullivan now speaks for Google?

  7. Jimmy Wirsborg Post author

    Thx for the answer, didn't really expect but hey guess what they do answer you if you ask them nicely ^^

    A followup would be if the code can be to broken. Tweeted Matt this and will wait and see if I get an answer. Would be fun to know if they use a rendering engine to check if the page is viewable and you could use that to see if the page works or not, independently of how it looks in the browsers.

  8. Jimmy Wirsborg Post author

    @Carbontm well better them than the people who build websites that only works with IE6 because they think no one uses anything else and upgrading to a new version of IE is just to difficult to do…

  9. aikighost Post author

    @Carbontm Well there is a very good reason to hate frames. They suck 🙂

  10. pwh pw Post author

    Aaahhhh, I'm either stupid or Matt and Danny got it wrong? They say that the question contains a grammatical error, but I can't find it! Matt read the question incorrectly though… ?? Confused

  11. VideoKursPL Post author

    what about if you make a misstake like you don't close h1 tag etc. it's not valid and it hurts your SEO for sure

  12. Andrew Bailey Post author

    @aikighost Frames only suck if you don't know how to use them properly. The biggest moans I hear are that search engines will point to content pages which will then load without their surrounding frameset and that frames mess with browser navigation. I have a framed site and it does not suffer from those problems. What frames allow me to do, which otherwise would be very tricky, is to only load the content that changes.

  13. aikighost Post author

    @Carbontm JSo you are actually talking about AJAX & iframes rather than traditional frames then In which case I say ok, but most people who use frames are not programmers and use them badly.

  14. Andrew Bailey Post author

    @aikighost Nope, one of my sites uses frameset. I didn't want to name it here because there's too many haters in the world, but what the hell, microbuild fullstop com

  15. TheDonBarracuda Post author

    anyone actually checked if google's home page passes validation? it doesn't. Until it does I won't get all hung up over passing validation.

  16. TheWebtronics Post author

    @DutchPow3r could be that there's only this kind of shirts in store, maybe everybody at Google wears them… 🙂

  17. saeb Post author

    Thank u google for not being strict on html codes. we cant write every thing right

  18. Tommy Perlhamre Post author

    Did you choose the colors of your shirts on account of the origin of the questioner?

  19. GodsBoy YouTube Post author

    Thanks for this video. Haha you wont believe it but one of our SEO clients called me today about their site and the errors it was getting and I explained it just like you did.

    I sent him a link of your video.

    Thanks Matt

  20. James Corton Post author

    Will put money down that Google is bulk buying those shirts, let us know if you want Logo's added!

  21. Cindy Turrietta Post author

    Twin sons of different mothers…
    ; )

    Good advice Danny. Thanks!

  22. Andrew Bailey Post author

    @ribeirobreno Nope, a good website is informative, entertaining, engaging and interesting. How it's coded to acheive that goal is of little importance to the user 😉

  23. Julian Stoev Post author

    You don't need a Google specific reason in order to write valid code, be professionals.

  24. shubham dubey Post author

    check the validation of my website you will hardly find a bad code.

  25. Jason Bourne Post author

    Danny, you are an idiot! Matt you are a putz! Follow the rules and die! Do the opposite and win!

  26. Sadaf Ameen Post author

    which is why i have been trying to make HTML as best as possible on 🙂

  27. EverSpark Interactive Post author

    Provided the browser can load the page properly, the code doesn't necessarily have to be validated. I would also add that some websites have not been updated in a long time and were coded in what would be considered as outdated code. This code would likely be using some elements that have been deprecated but the browsers could still interpret that code and render properly. This code might not validate but is still usable.

  28. sneakyam Post author

    Is this advice still up to date or have the validation police won?

  29. Kevin Beal Post author

    Who's the guest? I don't think his name was mentioned…

  30. Michael Ecklund Post author

    If you take the time to build a website "by the rules" — so to speak, there should be an award (even if it's a small award) over those who cut corners building websites, breaking all the rules. What's the point of having "Web Standards" if no one abides by them? I understand your "grammar analogy" but Google can actually help make the web a better place by awarding those who actually follow the rules of the web.

  31. Jeroen Post author

    They actually should. And reward, people who work as close as possible towards having a decent Insights score. The internet can be such a better and more faster place if you take validation and optimization into account. Some websites with a spaghetti of validation errors going on and the worst possible insights score still tend to rank too high in my opinion. Yes content, backlinks and all that count as well, but with optimizing your actually doing a visitor a favor by less traffic, less required render power because a website is properly build and all that.


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