How You Can Use HTML5 to Benefit Your SEO Campaign

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 27, 2013

Have you taken the time yet to familiarize yourself with HTML5 and learn how it will affect your website’s SEO? The latest version of HTML is not that difficult to learn, despite the addition of several new tags – and it can help both search engine bots and human visitors to have an easier time understanding your content and site structure.

Here are just a few of the new features you’ll find in HTML5 and how they can help you with your SEO efforts:

The <figure> and <figcaption> tags help your images get more recognition than if you use the <alt> tag alone.

Using a <figure> tag that encloses both the <alt=”Image Description”> tag and the <figcaption>Image Caption</figcaption> tag lets both search engines and human users know what the image is, whereas an <alt> tag is only visible to search engine bots.

New tags such as <nav>, <header> and <footer> help identify and prioritize links.

Not every link on a given web page passes the same amount of PageRank. Frequently-clicked navigation links will get a lot more attention from the Google bots than, say, your privacy policy. So use the <nav> tag for the important navigational links, and the <header> and <footer> tags to make your web page’s organization easier for both search engine bots and human visitors to understand.

The <header> and <footer> tags carry less weight with Google, it’s true, but they do have some benefits for your SEO strategy. Plus, the <header> tag contains the <H1>, <H2> and <H3> HTML elements you’re used to.

The <section> tag in HTML5 helps SEO by classifying different parts of each webpage.

For Google bots, the new <section> tag is especially beneficial because it helps you present a webpage in different sections instead of as one large chunk of content. Each section receives its own HTML heading, which should boost your on-page SEO efforts by helping Google bots identify the nature of the content in each section of the page.

HTML5 gives webmasters more ways to tell search engine bots how to deal with links.

Besides the new <header> and <footer> tags that help prioritize links and content on your webpages, HTML5 offers new “link rel=” tags that can tell bots if a given link goes to content such as help files, license information, bookmarks or “next” and “previous” pages in a sequence.

And, of course, the rel=”author” attribute helps you establish ownership of the content you publish and thus helps add to your Author Rank.

The <video> tag allows you to embed a video without using Flash.

This new HTML5 tag helps your SEO efforts because, as you probably know, search engines don’t care much for Flash and have a difficult time accessing the content in a Flash video. Plus, you can use the <video> tag to add more information about each video, such as “caption” and “subtitles.”

HTML5 has gotten mixed reviews and will take a little bit of learning and practice on your part, but the new tags it introduces ultimately mean more flexibility for webmasters and easier code for search engine bots to understand. Click here to learn more and get started using HTML5.