By: Wesley Seay - Bayshore Solutions Development Team
HTML5 is the first update to the HTML language since the release of HTML4 in 1998. This update created new html tags for web developers to use and with the advancements to search engines since 1998; it has been built with SEO in mind.
The new HTML5 tags allow websites to be split up into different “sections” (i.e. headers, main content, menus, link sections, and footers) and based on the tag used, it can tell the search engines how important the content is.
Some of the new basic tags that are used include the Header, Nav, Article, Aside, Section, and Footer tags. These tags are used in place of div tags, but will not replace divs completely. For example, in HTML4 web developers would write <div id=”header”> and place all header content inside this container. HTML5 simplifies the process by just using <header>.
Below is an explanation of the 6 most popular tags and how they can help with your SEO:
<Header>The new Header tag is a lot like the <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags in that they tell the Search Engines and browser that the content that it contains is important. The difference is generally the “H” tags contain a line of text or rendered as a logo container using Cascading Styling Sheets (CSS). The Header tag contains a lot more information, such as your site’s logo and navigation.
<Nav>The new Nav tag is one of the most important tags for SEO. Having your site’s navigation wrapped with this tag signals to search engines that the links contained inside this tag are important for moving around on the website and should be crawled more than the other links on your site.
<Article>The new Article tag is a great addition for SEO if your website has online publications such as blogs, magazines, newsletters or event listings. This tag tells search engines that the content it contains changes often and to put more weight on the text it contains; compared to other site elements.
<Aside>The new Aside tag is generally used as a container for secondary content. It tells the search engines that the content it contains is important, but not as important as other content on the page. For example, when the Aside tag is placed inside an Article tag, search engines will know that the content is related to the parent article, but it will not focus on the content as much as it does the rest of the content inside the Article tag.
<Section>The new Section tag is generally used to contain content such as book chapters or a blog post. Section tags should always contain a header tag, such as H1 or H2, so search engines know what the section is about and how it fits on the page. Section tags can also be used to split up the different “sections” of your home page; Such as introduction text and contact information.
The new Footer tag is placed at the end of your website and generally houses Meta data such as copyright information, contact information, and links to related documents. This helps search engines know how dated the content is and who created it. It also helps the search engine know that the content is not important enough to combine it with the earlier content it found higher up on the page.
As of 2012, HTML5 is still being finalized, so the specifications used are still changing often. But with the quick growth of the mobile market and with all mobile browsers being HTML5 compliant, HTML5 has become pretty standard for the mobile browsing experience and is safe to start implementing on your new mobile website.