You can’t build a website without using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and text. HTML is the coding language that describes and classifies specific parts of a page, whereas text consists of the visible words and characters that are displayed on a page. When users visit your website, their web browsers will process the page’s HTML to render its text and other content.
While your website needs both HTML and text, however, you should consider the ratio of these two elements. Too much HTML and not enough text can pose problems. By analyzing the text to HTML ratio, you can fix pages with an abundance of HTML so that they don’t drag down your website’s performance.
An Introduction to Text-to-HTML Ratio
The Text-to-HTML ratio is the percentage of visible text a page has versus its HTML code. If a page contains one-quarter of visible text and three-quarters of HTML code, its text-to-HTML would be 25 percent. While it can be expressed as a mathematical ratio as well, such as 1:4, text-to-HTML ratio is typically expressed as a percentage. It simply reflects how much visible text a page has relative to the page’s HTML code.
You can calculate a page’s text-to-HTML ratio by comparing the character count of its visible text to its HTML code. HTML and text both consist of characters. To find a page’s text-to-HTML ratio, add up all of the page’s text characters and all of its HTML characters separately. You can then divide the former number by the latter number, followed by moving the decimal two spaces to the right.
There are also text-to-HTML ratio checkers. Sitechecker, for instance, offers a free text-to-HTML ratio checker. Available at sitechecker.pro/text-to-code-ratio, it will scan a page’s text and HTML code to determine its ratio. Just enter a page’s URL and click the blue button. After analyzing the page, Sitechecker will reveal how many characters of text the page has and its text-to-HTML ratio.
Turning a blind eye to text-to-HTML ratio may result in large and bloated pages. According to a SEMRush study, one in four websites suffers from a low text-to-HTML ratio. In other words, they have pages with far more HTML than text.
A low text-to-HTML ratio is a common cause of page bloat.
Pages with too much HTML code and not enough text are bloated. They are large in size but don’t offer much content for visitors to view. And with their large size, bloated pages take longer to load than their unbloated counterparts. Fortunately, you can avoid page bloat by increasing a page’s text and decreasing its HTML code.
The Text-to-HTML ratio can also affect your website’s mobile experience. Like desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices render pages using a web browser. Mobile web browsers will process the page’s HTML code, followed by rendering the page so that it can be properly loaded.
With a low text-to-HTML ratio, though, pages often have a poor mobile experience. Mobile web browsers are more limited in their ability to render pages than desktop web browsers. While they can read the same syntax, mobile web browsers render pages differently. They may render a sidebar at the top of the page, for example, or they may render blocks of content that require sideways scrolling.
Mobile-related rendering problems such as these are commonly associated with a low text-to-HTML ratio. The more HTML code a page has, the greater the risk of rendering problems when the page is accessed on a mobile device. Optimizing the page for a higher text-to-HTML ratio will result in less HTML code, thus making the page easier for mobile web browsers to render.
Another reason the text-to-HTML ratio is important is on-page engagement. Visitors are usually more engaged on pages with a high text-to-HTML ratio than a low text text-to-HTML ratio. With a high text-to-HTML ratio, there’s more text content available for visitors to view.
Visitors typically won’t stay on pages with little or no text. Aside from images and videos, the text is the reason why visitors access pages. A high text-to-HTML ratio will ensure that there’s plenty of text available for visitors to view. It will draw more visitors to your pages, and it will compel them to engage with your pages.
While the text-to-HTML ratio isn’t an explicit ranking signal, it can still affect search rankings. Search engines don’t rank websites based on their HTML code; they rank websites based on their content, primarily their text content.
When search engines crawl one of your website’s pages, they’ll look for words and phrases to determine which keywords are most relevant to it. If the page has the same word mentioned several times — and mentioned in prominent areas like the title and subheadings — search engines may rank it for keywords related to that word. A low text-to-HTML ratio means search engines will have fewer words and phrases to evaluate.
At the same time, the text-to-HTML ratio influences load times, which is an explicit signal ranking. Google, Bing, Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, and Yandex recognize the importance of short load times. If a search engine ranked slow pages at the top of its results, users may leave it for a competing search engine.
Therefore, search engines generally rank fast pages with short load times higher than slow pages.
For faster pages, you should avoid using unnecessary HTML code. Building pages with clean and concise HTML code will make them load faster. Combined with relevant text content, short load times will encourage search engines to rank your pages higher. With that said, a low text-to-HTML ratio can lead to load times that hurt your pages’ rankings.
Not all of your pages will have the same text-to-HTML ratio. Since different pages contain different HTML codes and different text, their ratios will vary. A page’s text-to-HTML ratio can affect its load times, mobile experience, search rankings, and on-page engagement.
By aiming for a text-to-HTML ratio of about 20 percent to 60 percent, your website will perform better.