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Do Validation Errors Prevent Google from Indexing Your Site?

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A member has validated his webpage and found 7 errors. He asks whether or not those errors will prevent Google from indexing his site. We look at his validation errors and we validate my home page. We discuss various reasons why we may have “valid” code while having validation errors.

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Video Transcript

Rick: Hi Rick, just a general question here. My WordPress site has about 7 errors when I validate it in W3C. Does a site with errors really stop Google robots from indexing the site properly? Well, no I don’t think it actually prevents it. It depends on how bad the errors are. You know, I haven’t checked my site for a while. I might actually be embarrassed by this but let’s just validate my site and let’s see what happens. Okay we’ll close this stuff out a little bit here and then let’s see, tools. I guess we’ll validate the HTML, right? Yeah. So I have 52 errors and I am validating under HTML 1.0 strict but I don’t think that what we’re using. Let’s see if that’s what we’re using or now. View page source… yeah. We aren’t using that. Oh no, I guess we are. Actually, HTML is strict.

So based on the doc type that’s specified from my site, I have 52 errors but my site is pretty heavily indexed. What on earth happened? Let’s see, let’s try this one here. Okay, let’s sign out of this and sign in to that account. And go to settings, oh no… not those settings actually, my mistake. Now we go to settings. I’ve got a Google account settings, we’ll go over to Webmaster tools. Haven’t looked for a week so I’m going to see what’s going on here and I have 661 URLs in their index. Let’s see…okay oh, I have more than that. Actually, I have 954 URLs that I’ve submitted and 813 are actually in the index. 661 of them are text, 141 of them are video. And so it’s some of the text ones that haven’t been listed but you can be pretty sure that the home page is listed. So and I mean, I guess based on what you’re saying, what’d you say? You have 7 errors? I have 52 errors. I’m way the heck above you. Some of these errors have to do with plugins. In fact, if we just look at line 54 column 311… let’s see. Verbose output show source revalidate. Now okay, line 54. Yeah so I don’t have any choice. I’ll override line 54, something that’s created by the membership program that’s being used and it’s the login call that it’s using in order to get there. And it doesn’t validate but it doesn’t really… it just won’t even affect that. You know, if you can catch the problems, there’s nothing wrong with that but it’s a good idea to try to go in and catch them.

You know, this is an example here. Actually, this br space slash, this is actually not part of xHTML1, it’s part of 4. But because I anticipate down the road you know, upgrading, I don’t want to have to upgrade everything. And so there are some places where I use more modern you know, values deliberately…recognizing that it may not validate here but later on, it may validate without having them make any changes. But to tell you the truth, I don’t really think about it that much. You know, I don’t believe it’s affecting me at Google. And the kinds of problems that are here aren’t particularly large so I really wouldn’t worry about it. Eddie, I’m going to put you on… I’ll un-mute your microphone to see if that wrapped up your question. Are you…. Do you have a microphone hooked up there, Eddie?

Eddie: Hello? Rick, can you hear me okay?

Rick: Yes, I can.

Eddie: Oh good, good. Yeah, it’s just that my kind of website, I had these 7 errors but they didn’t seem to be so serious. They seem to be one… like the area you showed us with the br forward slash?

Rick: Yeah.

Eddie: I have a few of those.

Rick: So it’s not really an error so much as… it’s just using a more modern syntax than you’re testing for.

Eddie: Yeah. I mean a lot of the errors… I did try to find them but I had no way of… I’m not a big fan but when I type in… say, I type in a search term like Illustrator Melvin, I do come up. So it’s obviously indexing the site.

Rick: Yeah, I… and this is not the kind of error you’d want to fix.

Eddie: Right.

Rick: I mean you could certainly ask…you would love it if plugins you know, created valid HTML. And evidently this use of label wrapping the input I think is probably what it’s complaining about.

Eddie: Right.

Rick: You know, once upon a time, you’d use that word “label” in a forum, you’d have a label and then it would wrap the input class and that’s what’s going on here and I think that’s what it doesn’t like anymore because you know, it wants label to be over username and then end and then input class to be by itself. But… and so you can see that happening on the username and on the password and on a couple of other of the clearly… you know, clearly input related from that one piece of code. Actually, that’s where most of my validation errors are, aren’t they?

Eddie: Yeah, it looks like it’s there.

Rick: And I just got… so here is the kind of br tag that doesn’t throw the error at the moment. I’m not quite sure why this is throwing an error but you know I don’t think it’s that big a deal obviously so…

Eddie: Yeah, yeah. Thanks though, thanks ‘coz it’s something… when I go to that and when I finally found it, I see it there as I think as it were the worst and then…

Rick: Well you know, a poorly done code can create lots of errors and I’ve certainly seen people whose sites didn’t work and they couldn’t figure out why they worked and then you go validate their site and they’ve got a couple thousand errors. You know, all related to having crumbly code.

Eddie: Right. Okay, thanks so much Rick.

Rick: You’re welcome. So you’re down under too huh?

Eddie: Yeah, Melbourne.

Rick: So it’s not the middle of the night for you.

Eddie: No, it’s 20 to 5 in the afternoon.

Rick: There you go. Okay. Well, thank you very much for joining us, Eddie.

Eddie: Thanks so much. Bye, Rick.

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