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Is a site penalised if the first propper (human readable) content comes after a lot of structural HTML code? Is there any benefit to having the text content come earlier in the source (e.g. less HTML before it)?

Thanks.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

See number 8 on this page, http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors#ranking-factors for reference.

The short answer is you want your text content as close to the top as possible. That being said it isn't a huge factor so don't get overly worried or do crazy things to optimize your content to the top of the code. Google looks at a lot of other things that are much more important.

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