HTML, the language that powers the Worldwide Web, evolves with the technology and the needs of users and developers to provide Internet users with the best possible experience. Most of the Web now uses HTML4, the latest approved version. However, developers already use the next version, HTML5, and most Web browsers already support most of the new features of the emerging standard. This means developers and SEO experts can start leveraging HTML5 in their work today to prepare for the Web of tomorrow.
1. New tags
HTML5 allows developers to tell search engines how to segment Web pages. Right now, the search engines make those decisions. The ability to define headers, footers, sections for links, menus and other page sections can help webmasters increase the value of their content and avoid needless penalties like those Google assigns to pages with blog rolls.
Some of the new tags include:
Article – The new article tag will eliminate the need for div tags inside published content and define sections where valuable content resides. This should boost the search-engine visibility of published content.
Section – Search engines will have the ability to look for search terms within sections of text rather than looking for keywords scattered across entire pages. This should help pinpoint high-quality information for Internet users who do not want to bother with SEO-spammed pages.
Header – Expanding the benefits of traditional h1, h2, and h3 tags will enable webmasters and SEO professionals to include links, headings and text in new ways that will enhance readability and search engine performance.
Footer – Web publishers can have multiple header and footer sections on the same page. This can help define the relative importance and the role of various sections of Web pages for readers and search engines.
Nav – Bloggers often complain about losing page rank because of their blog rolls and other collections of links. Now, developers can include link clusters inside nav tags to regain their rightful positions in the SERPS.
2. More “rel” values
Web publishers can use rel values such as nofollow to define links inside Web content. HTML5 expands this feature. New descriptive terms tell search engines more about every link. The following list contains several examples.
“Alternate” presents a link to a different version of the same Web page.
“Author” describes links to descriptive content that pertains to authors.
“External” alerts users that the link leads to a different domain.
“Help” links point to support resources.
“Next” and “prev” indicates links that comprise part of a series of websites.
3. The video tag
Online video has become a favorite staple of Internet users, but compatibility issues have caused many problems. In HTML4, computers without Adobe’s Flash Player or other third-party applications cannot play many online videos. With HTML5, Web browsers will support video standards that will help any computer access video content without the need for pesky software installations. The new standard will help webmasters optimize video for SEO and simplify content management. Developers can add titles for their videos and dictate how video content will appear to users. Attributes like preload, loop, autoplay, poster and height all work together to control the user experience and help video content rank well in search engine results.
4. The future
Leading software manufacturers including the major Web-browser developers have already adopted most of the proposed HTML5 features. Even Google has updated YouTube for HTML5 compliance, so the official adoption of HTML5 seems like a mere formality. Search engines also have geared up for the transition and will increasingly recognize the new language as they crawl the Web. Despite a bright future, HTML5 will likely take time to become universal because so many people still use non-compliant browsers.
Richard, blogger and internet marketing consultant. Working as a content contributor for Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, law firm based on Long Island. Likes to help others with his experience in any way he can.
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