Muller Explains Grammar and HTML Impact on Low Ranking

Poor HTML, grammar, spelling affects ranking; says Mueller.
How poor HTML and grammar can affect Google Mueller rankings

During a Google + Hangout, John Mueller answered a question about poor HTML, spelling, and grammar, due to the fact that HTML is a technical SEO issue.

Spelling and grammar are quality issues that can negatively impact the user experience, he gave two answers.

“Do Google’s search algos check the broken HTML or spelling mistakes or grammatical mistakes, taking into account the search ranking?”

John Mueller generally responds right away to questions with a clear answer. John Mueller took a moment to consider his answer to this question.

Mueller answers on Google ranking:

In response, he explained that broken HTML has to be so broken that it cannot be understood by Google. “Those are kind of different situations. Uh… for the most part we don’t care about HTML if it’s broken or not. 

Most of the web does not have valid HTML and we have to live with it. The main exceptions that I know of with regard to broken HTML are if it’s really broken in a very bad way in the sense that if we can’t recognize that a page is mobile SEO friendly.

Or if we can’t recognize that this is a title or a heading then obviously we can’t do a lot of things with the HTML.

That’s kind of the one case there and usually, those kinds of broken pages are very broken in the browser too. 

So if you look at the page and they don’t even load properly then probably you need to fix that.

However, if you look at the page and it looks normal in the browser, then even if there’s broken HTML probably that’s okay.”

The impact of broken HTML on ranking:

Rankings can only be impacted by extremely bad HTML. Since Google can’t recognize page elements such as titles and headings or even identify the content of a web page, it makes it difficult for it to understand that web page effectively.

There are some HTML elements that are so poor that they bleed into the visible part of the webpage.

Google may not be able to understand a page like that.  In reality, HTML that does not conform to web standards is normal and can be handled by Google (and browsers).

According to John Mueller, web pages that are not rendered well in a web browser are probably in need of fixing.

As a result, Mueller explained, bad spelling and poor grammar can impact rankings since they impact users, and thus are a quality issue.

The answer is kind of similar to something he said in another hangout about auto-translated content that tends to be poorly written and would probably have a hard time ranking.

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