# Importance of minimal markup on a page?

Having minimal HTML on a page used to be believed to be a ranking factor (not necessarily a huge one, but still something). For example, Moz.com's 2013 SEO study assigned a degree of value to "Total # of Characters in the HTML Code" (https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors/2013).

Does anyone know if this is the case currently?

• This isn't something you should be concerned about. If it matters at all, it matters less than your markup being correct and easy to manage. Just write good code and everything else will work itself out. – John Conde Nov 5 '15 at 21:21

Minimising code and eliminating superfluous code makes websites faster. In that respect, yes, it does affect ranking.

However, if you're asking whether Google will rank a website that has more HTML on the page lower, the answer is not normally (within reasonable limits, of course), so long as the code to content ratio is not bad and the code is serving an actual purpose that enhances the user experience.

• The HTML code to content ratio is a myth. Sorry. It never was a metric that Google used to rank a pages value. Content size is, HTML or HTML to content not. – closetnoc Nov 5 '15 at 23:42
• Let me clarify... I'm not saying that the code to content ratio is a ranking factor. Nor am I saying that the purpose of the code is a ranking factor. They are both user experience factors and they are factors that affect page load speed, which is a ranking factor. – FarhadD Nov 6 '15 at 0:26
• There is where you and I can agree! Lean is good!! I am a huge fan of simple. I can understand simple. What drives me nuts is going to sears, walmart, or any of these other sites and the JS chews up my poor little computer and takes forever to download all the junk. It gets a bit crazy sometimes. Cheers!! – closetnoc Nov 6 '15 at 0:30
<rant>


You can toss these surveys out the door. It is a list of what SEOs think are ranking factors. I did not look at the list. I did not have to. It is not uncommon that silly [****] appears on this list. Keep in mind that most online SEOs are not technical people. They are not coders, DBAs, systems internals engineers, systems analysts, etc. Most, are marketing people or IT people with little background knowledge, and yet, these folks pontificate about how search engine internals work. These lists get created and good kind folks like you think it is gospel. It is not.

</rant>


Since the very beginning of Google when it was just a research project way back in the dark ages before the first dawn, the birth of man, Christ, and the cell phone, way back in 1997, there was no restriction on the size of the web page. For some processes, there was a limitation, however, the entire HTML code as fetched and then indexed. In all of the patents, research papers, and books written by the engineers, I have yet to see any discussion about the size of the HTML. In fact, here is a quote from the original research paper:

4.2.2 Repository

The repository contains the full HTML of every web page.

Google does not care one whit about the page size. Where this fallacy began was when some wise acker found that there was a limitation in the hit list. This was related to the starting character position in bytes of any term matched being limited to 4095 (of 4096). This was reflected in the SERPs, of course, and the wise SEO jumped to the conclusion that Google only looked at the first 4095/6 characters of any given web page. This is clearly not true. The original reason why the hit list was limited was that disk space was expensive and the return on value of indexing terms beyond that point became moot and did not improve the ability of the research search engine to prove it's point. That was a limitation that was removed quickly especially as Google moved toward becoming more of a semantics based search engine back in 2002/3. That was just before the invention of the wheel mind you. Since then, more wise ackers have come along with their own theories forgetting that Google does tell us what they are up to in a fair amount of detail most of the time if you chose to read and stay off the SEO websites.

What you have to do is separate out fact from fiction. And YES(!) I do realize that is why you are here.

I found one important question to ask yourself is the same one Google asks at every juncture (admittedly they do get this wrong sometimes). Are the metrics I am seeing a true indication of quality? In this case, No. The notion of limited HTML size is not an indication of anything at all except the HTML size. Therefore, and I can say this with surety, HTML size is not a ranking factor and never was. However, size of content, provided that it is too short, can lead to the assumption that the content is thin.

• I'd also add another question you should ask yourself: would this code / content add value to your users. If your pages are reaching a size where you have to worry about the amount of code you're throwing at Google, I'd suspect they might be getting too big for your visitors to use meaningfully. – FarhadD Nov 6 '15 at 14:21
• @FarhadD Amen Brother!! I like you already! – closetnoc Nov 6 '15 at 15:23