Weekly SEO news: 2 February 2016
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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google: it's better if your web pages have valid HTML

Google's John Mueller said in a Google Hangout that it is better to have a website with valid HTML:

valid HTML

"This came up recently with the change of the guidelines, with regards to change made in the webmaster guidelines. We mentioned 'use valid HTML'. The question here is: is the W3C Validation (Broken HTML) ranking factor or should we care about it?

It is not directly a ranking factor. It is not the sense that if your site is not using valid HTML we will remove it from he index. Because I think we will have a pretty empty search results.

But there are a few aspects there that do come into play. On the one hand, a site with really broken HTML, something that we see really rarely, then it is really hard for us to crawl it and index the content because we can’t pick it up.

The other two aspects which are kind more in regards to structured data. Sometimes it is really hard to pick up the structured data when the HTML is broken completely. So you can’t easily use a validator for the structured data.

The other thing is in regards to mobile devices and cross browser support is if you have broken HTML then that is sometimes really hard to render on newer devices."

This video confirmed a shorter statement that John Mueller made the day before:

Twitter footer links

What does this mean exactly?

This means that there is no penalty for broken HTML code. Google can handle a lot of HTML errors. However, some HTML errors make it hard for Google to index your web pages.

Other HTML errors can cause problems with structured data markup, other errors can cause display issues on mobile devices.

For that reason, it is much better to make sure that your web pages use valid HTML. Valid HTML is a sign of a high quality website.

There are many more factors

There are many factors that influence the position of your web pages on Google and other search engines. The website audit tool in SEOprofiler helps you to make sure that your web pages do not contain critical errors. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

Try SEOprofiler now

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google: we prefer short URLs

"In a Google Hangout, Google’s John Mueller said that Google preferred short URLs. You should not go over 2,000 characters in your URLs. [...]

There are lots of exceptions there. Different factors that come into play, but everything else being equal, if you have a shorter one and a longer one, we will try to pick the shorter one."

GoogleGoogle: you do not have to worry about IP addresses and IP blocks

"Some SEOs recommend that your website has its own IP address and that your websites should have different IP blocks. The idea behind this is that your websites does not get in a ‘bad neighborhood’ that way. Google’s John Mueller said that you don’t have to worry about this."

Google: the link structure on your website is important

"In a webmaster hangout, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that a good website navigation is important if you want to make sure that all of your web pages get indexed correctly."

GoogleMatt Cutts: Google core updates were so drastic due to end of year code freeze 

"Matt Cutts explains that around the holidays Google 'doesn't want to create extra stress for publishers, webmasters and SEOs." So Google 'tends not to roll out a lot of algorithmic changes right in mid-December' Matt added.

He then said, 'then what happens is if you freeze your code then people [Google engineers] keep working then come January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th... people go, okay we get to launch everything.'"

Google: title tags are a ranking factor but is it a critical factor?

"Titles [...] are important for SEO. They are used as a ranking factor. Of course, they are definitely used as a ranking factor but it is not something where I’d say the time you spend on tweaking the title is really the best use of your time.

So that is something where if you are focusing only on titles in SEO, if your SEO agency work is essentially going to people’s sites and say we will strip out all titles and rewrite them to include all the relevant keywords and you will rank ten places higher, that is not going to happen."

Search engine newslets

  • Google's John Mueller: We're working on expanding JSON-LD support.
  • Google's John Mueller: images don't change often, so we don't reindex them frequently.
  • WSJ: Cracking the Google profit code.
  • Google Earth Pro layers being dropped.
  • Bing adds lottery numbers to search results.
  • Microsoft quietly retreats from FairSearch, watchdog behind Google antitrust cases.
3. Recommended resources


SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on Google and more customers. It offers all the tools that you need:

  • automatic weekly website audits
  • tools for keyword research and analysis
  • competitive intelligence tools
  • automated ranking checks
  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • and much more.

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4. Previous articles
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