With the release of the new version of HTML it got me thinking about the implications this could have on Search engine optimisation and how search engines will be affected?

What is HTML 5?

HTML 5 is the newest version of the classic HTML (Hypertext mark-up language) currently used on the World Wide Web. However HTML 5 is embracing many new features and amending many others.

With the incorporation of many new elements, HTML 5 is said to use more understandable methods of delivery for web visitors and search engine spiders.

What’s with HTML 5?

HTML 5 has introduced a number of elements which aim to provide an easier development processes for web developers.

Elements such as <header>, <article> and <footer> have been developed to advance the structural understanding of a website.

The “header” element for instance can be used as expected at the top of a webpage. However the element can also be used to outline a heading throughout the webpage, like within an “article”. The same occurs with the “footer” element, it can be used throughout the webpage to indicate a footing of some sort to search engines and browsers.

For example:

Another superb addition to version 5 HTML is the incorporation of the <video> and <audio> elements, making it painless for developers to incorporate audio and video into a webpage. Not only do these amendments make complex installations simple, they also create a new platform for developers to build from in the future.

How does this Affect SEO?

I find myself wondering which search engines will begin to embrace these modifications first? How will websites be affected that don’t embrace these changes?

Well I certainly don’t think this will be happening at any great speed, but it is important to be aware of the changes. I expect the leading search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are already altering algorithms and building in patches to handle the new elements.

I expect the search engines are delighted with the navigational instalments, as these can be used as an additional ranking element on which the current algorithms are based; especially hearing the news that nofollow relationship links are not as heavily weighted as before.

From an SEO point of view, HTML5 offers many opportunities to include more and more content into webpage which is a key factor. With the inclusion of the video tag, it will enable descriptive content to be attached to video, audio and graphical elements. Previously this has been an issue, search engines have been trying to introduce many different ways to enable search engines to read the content of video’s etc however with this inclusion it has been made much easier.

Many web developers will be aware of the &#60;strong &#62; tag and relate it to creating a bolded keyword however with the new version of HTML the strong element is now an indicator of the importance of the keyword on the page. Techniques like this are important to search engine optimisers like 4Ps Marketing and must be embraced.

Any amendments presented by HMTL 5 are significant to SEO practices however a well optimised website, developed specifically to the audience is still in my opinion the most important of all.

To see a complete list of differences from HTML version 4 to version 5 visit: https://dev.w3.org/html5/html4-differences/.

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