Friday, August 28, 2009

HTML 5 and SEO

It's a busy Friday but the HTML 5 draft just ramped up another level and it’s too exciting not to brain storm some SEO impact.

First off; death to frames!

HTML 5 will not support <frame>, <iframe> and <noframes>. It’s bad for accessibility notes the W3. It’s a nightmare for SEO too.

That said there are some people who try and PageRank sculpt via iframes. If you’re doing that now then you’ll better be working on plan B.

Page Structure

HTML 5 proposes some changes to the page structure. I’m a little worried that they’ll be ignored.

Rather than just having a <head> and a <body> we’re now also given <section> for generic sections but also <article> for articles. The W3 suggests that <article> should be used for blog posts or newspaper articles. Already I can see shades of grey where I wouldn’t be sure whether to use <section> or <article> or perhaps you use <section> inside <article>.

I should stress again that I’m writing this on the fly after just a quick run through of the spec so may have missed where W3 explain the logic of this.

I did spot that <article> is designed to be used together with <h1> -> <h6> tags. As a result I think we’ll see more web devs building in the <hx> tags into their site design. This is good but I also suspect they’ll be harder to get changed.

What could impact SEO if enough sites start to use the tags correctly are the additions of <nav> and <footer>. As you’d expect <nav> denotes text and links that make up your main navigation and <footer> makes up the footer. If I was Google I’d certainly consider treating links in the <nav> differently from links in <footer>.

The <hr /> tag is used to break up thematic elements. I still think you’d be better off having one keyphrase per URL than trying a format that looked like <section>keyphrase #1<section><hr /><section>keyphrase #2</section> but we’ll have to see how the draft progresses.

HTML 5 also introduces <aside> as a way to make an aside and this seems like an ideal solution to making a relevant but off topic comment. In other words, <aside> may be used to keep pages interesting without losing their focus.

If you’re beginning to wonder whether you should put your blog comment section in an <aside> area then you’ll have to wrestle with that and the <dialog> element designed for, yeah, dialogs.

There more on HTML 5 here.

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