I hope I didn’t confuse anyone, I wasn’t suggesting that we scan our sites. I was just giving you a free scanner probably similar to what you competitor was showing you client results from.
I would use it only as information so you would have some idea as to what the competitor is telling your client. Since you don’t have any custom HTML, I would ignore the error report. But as @joeworkman pointed out most all sites will produce errors. The scanner I provided is from the W3C( World Wide Web Consortium) and their own site w3.org has errors.
As for page titles - this is what shows at top of some browsers, or the tab windows, short would be better as longer will get truncated. Thats why I suggest whats important about that page be at the beginning of the title.
As for the page description - as has been pointed out no ones know if search engines ignore or not any length. However the description most of the time (Not always up to Google or Bing, etc) is what shows up as your search results. This is your sales pitch to get the consumer to click on your site and not the other results. I really think this is were the 139 chars comes from. Google will only show so much and then truncate. So again put your pitch up front. Just as important as getting found is getting clicked.
headings h1 h2 - h6 - Are very important. The crawlers that gather data from your site are not very smart. For the most part they are text based and strictly send data about your site back to the mothership(google) were the results are determined.
As a rule of thumb I would suggest the following:
h1 - page title ( usually one per page)
h2 - page subtitle (can have more than one if needed)
h3 - section heading
h4 - subsection heading
h5 - small heading (sub subsection)
h6 - very small heading
It is important to segment you page this way, you’re telling the readers how to find your info on your site. and the search engines how to catalog your data.
Using headers as text does not mean you can’t make them fancy with shadows and background images. If you’re using stacks there are a number of options available.
I personally like joe Workmans Impact stack. It will allow you to put content on images that is text like headers.
If you want a fancy text you can use something like his letterbox stack that uses h1-h6 or p tags, or a combo of a letterbox on a impact stack.
Using images that have the text on them even with descriptions alt-text titles still doesn’t segment the page. It also doesn’t rank the importance of that text as it relates to the rest of the page.