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Search Engine Optimization February 22nd, 2013
You’ve most likely heard about HTML5 a bunch of times now, right? But what’s cool about it for the SEO community and can it influence your site’s rankings or it’s just a gimmick? If that’s what you’re wondering about, I got you covered. Afer reading the post you’ll have a clear understanding if you need HTML5 at all.
This is going to catch your eye right away. If a site is built with HTML5, it starts just with <!DOCTYPE html> instead of that massive piece of … code that you were supposed to use before. Even judging from the first innovation, you can guess what HTML5 is all about. You got it! It’s about making the web a cleaner and better place. And since less code is good for SEO, you can already tell that SEOs should take advantage of it.
For starters, let’s see what semantic tags are. A semantic tag is just an HTML tag that makes sense to human beings. For example, <div> is not a semantic tag because it’s kinda hard to guess what it means. Whereas <header><navigation><aside>(you can use it for sidebars), <footer> are perfect illustrations of semantic tags that HTML5 has to offer. I’m sure it’ll simplify things for Google as well because it’ll be pretty easy to say if a link is in the footer or not. Google can do it now anyway, but it spends energy for its algo to figure it out. From now on, if a link is within the <footer></footer> tags, it’s definitely a footer link. Does that make sense?
The thing that I’m really excited about is the new email input type. For starters, if you use that new email input type, mobile browsers will display a customized keyboard for entering specifically an email address. You can also actually use the built-in browser email validation that HTML5 brings to the table. Long story short, if you define a certain input field as email, it’ll throw out errors if the user enters something that does not look like an email address. Though this feature has its drawbacks, because it has loopholes and is not reliable enough, you may want to use it if you need some really simple email validation and you don’t really want to mess around with any scripting. Here’s how it looks:
Also, now you can use the URL and phone number input types in your forms, which allow you to make sure that the user enters the data you actually need from it.
Again, these features don’t really add on too much in terms of SEO, but there’s indirect influence, because – like I said before – those features can be implemented without JS, which usually slows down your site quite a bit.
As an SEO, you may be doing blog commenting for your site or just for your customers. Are you familiar with the situation when you invest like half an hour for composing a comment to a blog post and when you click “Submit”, the session turns out to be expired? Been there? And the new local storage feature can be used to safely store your comment before you hit the “Submit button”. Which means more saved nerves for you.
The benefit of using HTML5 is that it makes your site faster because you use less code and the features that used to require JS can be implemented with HTML only. So, there’s a positive influence of HTML5, but it may be not that big as we in the SEO community expected. In either case, it’s a step in the right directly and we totally need to use what it offers, because it’ll make our SEO lives a bit easier and more productive.