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On our pages the content consists of multiple entries (similar to forums) and those entries have lots of html such as three social share widgets, like buttons, favorite buttons and so on. When you look at the source of the page, what seems on browser as two consecutive blocks of entry, is seen as one entry then thousands of html (they include text such as "share on xxx") and an entry again.

This is the human perception, but is it also a problem for search engines? Particularly Google.

  • It does not matter. Google is not a human. – closetnoc Apr 17 '16 at 18:39
  • @closetnoc I thought so. But when I see Wikipedia's source it looks almost like only text. Considering the ranking performance of Wikipedia, I just suspected about the issue. – ozgur Apr 17 '16 at 18:49
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    I personally prefer pretty HTML, however, since I write code that produces HTML and download speed is an issue, I do not bother with pretty at that point unless I need it for debugging. Google does not care. Google is not human. It is said to use a well known and open HTML DOM model (parser) and does not care one whit how many spaces and line feeds there are. – closetnoc Apr 17 '16 at 18:55
  • "Wikipedia's source [it] looks almost like only text" - Wikipedia's content is mostly text. (?) – MrWhite Apr 17 '16 at 21:47
  • He means the HTML source code presented, which is probably hand coded- they own the platform (mediawiki) after all. Begin-sarcasm: yes, you discovered Wikipedia's secret: their text to code ratio is the one and only reason they are in the top 10 for every query. End-sarcasm. Seriously, don't go all cargo-cult... not only will you lose your mind, you'll waste your time. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 18 '16 at 2:43
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Crowded markup is not a huge issue these days. Once long ago it was considered a sign of a badly designed site and Google acted accordingly but these days with the rise of dynamic interactive database driven websites and rich user interfaces Google has stopped ranking based on HTML clutter. As long as all the HTML is not causing really long page load times then you should have no issue.

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Crowded markup is advantageous these days for a couple of reasons:

  1. Anyone who wants to steal part of your code to make it their own will have a harder time doing so when all the HTML is crowded together as one instead of html with nice comments between blocks of code.

  2. The amount of bytes required for crowding your HTML is often less than that of pretty looking HTML since spaces, comments, and the carriage return sequence take up extra bytes.

The fewer bytes your HTML is, the faster your page is downloaded and the less stress there is on the server.

What I suggest is to cram your HTML code together while still making the code run the same way. For example. Change:

<!-- Start a pretty looking box -->
<div ID="oneprettybox">
    <p>This is a pretty box</p>
    <p>with some text</p>
    <a href="http://sharer.com">
        Share the text
    </a>
</div>
<!-- end pretty box -->

to this:

<div ID="box"><p>This is a pretty box</p><p>with some text</p><a href="http://sharer.com">Share the text</a></div>

and you'll notice fewer bytes are downloaded and the overall loading experience will be better.

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