May 06, 2013

The Importance of HTML5 in SEO

HTML optimization is standard tool in SEO’s mission to boost searchability, and the major evolution the interface is undergoing – its metamorphosis into HTML5 – will surely impact SEO and deliver innovations.

Daniel Cristo, a contributor to Search Engine Journal, discussed the ways in which HTML5 will be a great change for SEOs. He compares HTML to a bayonet in that it is SEO’s essential weapon, likening the HTML5 makeover to an advancement in weaponry (and yes, Cristo remembers Obama’s famous wisecrack to Romney re: fewer horses and bayonets, and points out that actually, everyone still gets a bayonet in the army…nice try, but that was still a heck of a zinger).

Cristo highlights that the HTML5 update contains a collection of new tags and APIs.  He chooses the standout SEO innovations.

HTML5 provides several new ways for webmasters to instruct search engines on how to handle a particular link. Moderators can now provide them with very specific directions for everything from setting the page’s language to advanced pagination. It’s a strong improvement, as webmasters can now inform search engines what pages of their sites are in Spanish, or where to find help documentation.

HTML5 allows one to claim ownership of the content he/she creates by using the rel=“author” text on a link. This development highlights Google’s (News Alert) push toward owning authorship. Ownership is now tied directly to top rankings. 

Among the main purposes of an SEO is to take rich content that search engines have trouble understanding — such as image and video — and convert it into a text-based alternative. Until HTML5, SEOs used “alt text” as the primary way to help a search engine understand what is going on in an image. HTML5’s new “figure” and “figure caption” tags are game-changing in that there is now a clearer, more specific way to explain images to search engines.

With HTML5 users can label the important parts of a page. For example, the new <nav> tag (NewsAlert) tells search engines which links are part of your main navigation, which according to the above patent, may help them pass on more PageRank. The <footer> tag relays to search engines what links are at the bottom of the page, which may cause them to pass on less PageRank.

Unlike webmasters, search engines aren’t so hot on Flash because they have a hard time accessing the content in that format. HTML5’s new <video> tag changes that. With the <video> tag, webmasters can embed a video as easily as they can an image – no Flash required. HTML5 also provides SEOs with a number of ways to tell search engines about additional content related to the video, such as “captions” and “subtitles.”

HTML5 even sports a solution for a search engine’s difficulty in reading AJAX with its History API. It lets developers change the URL in the address bar of the browser without refreshing the page. This helps search engines tie AJAX content to a unique URL, which is decisive for their ranking algorithms.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


HTML 5 Demos and Examples

HTML 5 experimentation and demos I've hacked together. Click on the browser support icon or the technology tag to filter the demos.... Learn More

HTML5 GAMES is the largest and most comprehensive directory of HTML5 games on the internet... Learn More

The HTML5 test

How well does your browser support HTML5?... Learn More

Working Draft (WHATWG)

This is the Editor’s Draft from WHATWG. You can use it online or print the available PDF version... Learn More

HTML5 Flip Book

Free jQuery and HTML5 flip book maker for PDF to online page turning book conversion... Learn More