Dec 24, 2010

HTML 5 and how it will affect your SEO

Typically every ‘action’ which is the result of a change in web technology has a ‘reaction’ in terms of how it will affect your SEO. HTML5 is the latest HTML standard released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and its implementation has some impact in the way search engines will now index your website. 

HTML5, as you’d expect, has taken advantage of search engine development to help search engines index websites better. Its microdata feature in which you specify vocabulary used in a section of a web page or an article on the page is the perfect example.  That means that you can have multiple microdata vocabularies on a single page.  This helps to better define and organize multiple topics on a single page without being afraid that the content itself is going to confuse search engines. 

This increased intelligence provided to search engines will help you better target customers and deliver your content where it needs to be delivered the most.  By segmenting a page, you can now target multiple customers because the search engines understand and can differentiate between different sections of a page. This makes each page you create more suitable to the complexity of most online business. 

The <section> tag is how you can compartmentalize different segments of your HTML 5 page.  Each section should identify microdata vocabulary that you are using within the segment so that the pages work for you in w away which until now has been almost impossible to achieve properly.

The new <article> tags mark the space within which you will put the majority of the textual content on your page.  Again, a single page can contain multiple articles  and a single article can contain multiple <section> areas.  This nesting structure helps to further organize the content within a page.  If you are a blogger, you will want to use the <article> tabs to segment multiple articles on your pages.

As you guessed by now HTML5 gives particular attention to nesting and tree structures even within a single page and finally updates HTML which was stuck in the 20th century and brings it in line with 21st century web technology. 

The new <header> tag is text to describe a section.  In addition, you can create headers within headers, again creating some nicely organized nested code which will help you if you are working with a funnel effect in your content.  The <header> tag will replace your h1 tags when you convert your code from HTML 4 to HTML 5.

At the end of a section, you can add a <footer> tag.  This tag contains any footer style text about the section such as the Author of the article and any links the article referenced. Strictly speaking this is not new but it is now formally recognized and there is a mark-up tag to cover it. 

The <nav> tag is where you place all of your internal navigation links.  Again, search engines will much more accurately be able to understand the structure of your site if you use this section.  In addition, you should place your "previous" and "next" internal links in this section if your site or blog contains them.

If you are familiar with HTML 4, you'll notice that the new HTML 5 tags we’ve looked at so far were previously handled by various <div> tags in HTML 4.  The <div> tags are add-on elements within HTML 4 that fail on many levels to properly describe the different sections of a web page which then requires a lot more SEO work in order to be indexed properly.

Finally, the new <mark> tag is very similar to the <strong> tag and will likely be used frequently on your site to make certain keywords stand out.


Dale Cruse said...

It is not accurate to say, "The tag will replace your h1 tags when you convert your code from HTML 4 to HTML 5." The new tag is used to indicate a header, not a heading. To suggest that site owners replace their h1 s with may not only incorrectly identify sections of code, it may actually *hurt* search engine optimization by not allowing search engines to properly parse that piece of code.

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