HTML HintsGo to hints
The HTML of a web page plays a major, if understated, role in search engine optimisation. For the most part, search engine crawlers are still extracting HTML as their primary method of crawling and indexing web content.
Search engine crawlers extract the source HTML, then parse it to extract data from the content. This means that they break the HTML apart into pieces, then try to map this data to elements they can understand (such as a page <title>).
As such, if you have some HTML elements which do not fit together properly, or cause elements of the HTML to break, this can affect how easily search engines can piece together the data from the web pages.
Breaking the head
A prime example of this comes from including certain elements in the <head> that search engines do not expect to see there, which can cause them to escape the head early and potentially miss important information (e.g. robots=noindex!). Sitebulb includes 3 Hints that specifically pick out issues which may break the <head>.
- <head> contains a <noscript> tag
- <head> contains a <noscript> tag, which includes an image
- <head> contains invalid HTML elements
Poorly formed HTML
HTML validation has not been something that SEOs have cared too much about over the years. Generally this is not a problem, since search engines are pretty resilient, and can fix or ignore invalid HTML (they understand that the web is broken!). However, some specific patterns can cause problems for search engines when trying to understand the HTML.
- HTML is missing or empty
- URL contains a form with a GET method
- Base URL malformed or empty
- Multiple, mismatched base URLs
- Multiple base URLs
Google tracking codes
This has no impact on SEO, but can impact upon how easy it is to track and report on SEO endeavours. Sitebulb includes 2 Hints that will tell you when Google Analytics (GA) or Google Tag Manager (GTM) codes are missing, and 2 Hints that tell you when there is more than one instance of the code on the page. These Hints are independent of one another, and will trigger even if the respective codes are not used anywhere on the site - they exist to help you pick out instances where the coverage is incomplete or misconfigured.