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Since 2004 there has been a movement a foot, an uprising you could say, to come up with a better way to structure and present website content given the incorporation of videos and other interactive features within today’s websites. Before the development of HTML5, videos and other interactive features such as maps and flash applications were placed on websites using third-party websites such as YouTube and Google Maps. These features were considered a missed opportunity by most SEO professionals when looking at ways to get the most out of your onsite SEO efforts. That is where HTML5 comes into play. With the development of HTML5, SEO professionals and webmasters will have the ability to add different tags to these interactive elements. These tags will help to categorize and organize theses elements in a way that search engines can better understand. From an SEO standpoint, these new tags will give the ability to add more useful information about your interactive elements and how it relates to your onsite content. Here are some samples of tags that HTML5 will be offering:
· Improved page segmentation. Search engines are getting smarter every day and there are many reasons to believe that even now they are applying page segmentation. Basically, page segmentation means that a page is divided into several separate parts (i.e. main content, menus, headers, footers, links sections, etc.) and these parts are treated as separate entries. At present, there is no way for a webmaster to tell search engines how to segment a page but this is bound to change in HTML 5. The advent of these new tags will help to control what the search engines view as important on a webpage.
· A new <article> tag. The new <article> tag is probably the best addition from a SEO point of view. The <article> tag allows marking of separate entries in an online publication, such as a blog or a magazine. It is expected that when articles are marked with the <article> tag, this will make the HTML code cleaner because it will reduce the need to use <div> tags. Also, probably search engines will put more weight on the text inside the <article> tag as compared to the contents on the other parts of the page.
· A new <section> tag. The new <section> tag can be used to identify separate sections on a webpage. This is a another way to segment the onsite content and the advantage is that each section can now have its own separate HTML heading. As with the <article> tag, it can be presumed that search engines will pay more attention to the contents of separate sections. For instance, if the words of a search string are found in one section, this implies higher relevance as compared to when these words are found all across the page or in separate sections. This concept lends itself to discouraging keyword stuffing and overuse of a target keyword when a webmaster is going for a certain keyword density.
· A new <header> tag. The new <header> tag (which is different from the head element) is a blessing for SEO experts because it gives a lot of flexibility. The <header> tag is very similar to the <H1> tag but the difference is that it can contain a lot of stuff, such as H1, H2, H3 elements, whole paragraphs of text, hard-coded links (and this is really precious for SEO), and any other kind of info you feel relevant to include. Since the Header tag will be the first that that search engines see when they come to spider your site, the advancement of what can be included in this tag will allow SEO professionals and webmasters to include much more relevant information about the website as a whole.
· A new <footer> tag. The <footer> tag might not be as useful as the <header> one but still it allows the inclusion of important information and it can be used for SEO purposes as well. The <header> and <footer> tags can be used many times on one page – i.e. you can have a separate header/footer for each section and this gives really a lot of flexibility to include as much information as you like based around the onsite contetnt.
· A new <nav> tag. Navigation is one of the important factors for SEO and since the advent of sitelinks within the organic results. The new <nav> tag can be used to identify a collection of links to other pages and the overall navigation of a website.
Some other interesting developments that will help your website succeed organically when using HTML5 are:
· New phrase elements, such as “Time” and “Meter,” will help build a “respectable/librarian” feel to a page and hopefully give the webpage/website a certain trust factor which is very good in the internet world.
· A new interactive element, “details,” that can hide extra information until activated. This one can be used for helping the search engines learn even more about your website and pages of your website.
· Embedded media elements such as video and audio will be easy to optimize with HTML5. The tags "video" and "audio" are self-sufficient and the alternative descriptions, for web browsers and accessibility, are included within those tags. This will allow for videos to be tagged much like pictures are being done currently.
Even with all of these great new tags and developments that HTML5 is going to bring to the table, HTML5 is still a ways from being fully implemented into the mainstream search engines. Looking to the future, it is always good to keep in mind these developments in website coding in order to get that leg up on your competition and to know how HTML5 will eventually affect your SEO plan.