What do you know about semantic HTML? If you are thinking of a way of presentation, then you are correct but it’s not only presentation, it’s a lot more than that. It is a major part of effective web development. Semantic HTML pays deep attention to the structure and the reason behind the content of the page. Please don’t confuse yourself with the traditional way of HTML, these two are very different from each other. Traditional HTML used to completely rely on the visual elements of the webpage and its style whereas semantic HTML relies on the tags and attributes which explain the purpose and information about each content. By utilizing semantic HTML, web developers create easily accessible websites which help in improving SEO of the website which helps in getting a higher rank in the Search Engine Result Page. Semantic HTML acts as an interface between humans and machines to understand and interact with each piece of content in a better way. This enhances the user experience and ensures inclusiveness for everyone. Further in this blog, you will learn about some common semantic elements and its benefits for both Google and users.
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Semantic HTML Elements
Semantic HTML elements are used for providing purpose and structure to web content which assists search engines in understanding the content.
Following are some common semantic elements:
They are used for creating hierarchy and denoting importance.
● <H1>, <H2>, <H3> elements are used for denoting headings. Consider the <h1> as top focus required and <h6> as least important.
They represent blocks or sections of text.
● <p> is used for denoting paragraphs.
They are used for organizing items.
- ● <ul> represents an unordered list like a bulleted list.
- ● <ol> represents ordered lists like 1,2,3,4 or a,b,c,d.
- ● <li> represents a single item of the list.
They are used for structuring tabular data.
- ● <table> is used for creating a table
- ● <tr> is used for defining rows,
- ● <th> is used for defining column headers.
- ● <td> is used for defining data cells.
5. Links or anchors
They are used to hyperlink different pages.
- ● <a> creates a hyperlink between pages.
These represent photos or graphics.
- ● The alt attribute is used to provide a text description of the image.
They are used for representing independent and reusable content like stories.
- ● <article> is used for denoting articles
They are used for representing group related content together. For example chapters, parts of a document etc.
- ● <section> element is used for denoting sections.
They are used for containing content related to the main content. For example, sidebars.
- ● <aside> element is used for denoting asides.
They are used for representing images, diagrams, or illustrations.
- ● <figure> and <figcaption> with a little caption represents the type of relationship between main and surrounding content.
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Is Semantic HTML a Ranking Factor?
No, semantic HTML does not affect your ranking on SRPSs, it only assists in searching and analyzing content and its structure. Quoting Mueller “Semantic HTML does help to understand a page. However, it’s not a magical multiplier for making a website rank higher.”
As told earlier, semantic HTML has 0 effect on your ranking, ranking depends on the SEO optimization of your website. But using semantic HTML has now become a necessity as it helps in improving SEO.
Semantic HTML optimization for search engines will create better user experience.
How Semantic HTML Benefits Google
User benefits are one thing but automated systems like Google and assisting these massive technologies require a lot of effort. Semantic HTML has proven very beneficial for such technologies.
Following are different ways of benefiting by semantic HTML which helps in enhancement of SEO.
- ● Add headings (H1,H2,H3) for better layout of the text.
- ● Adding images around the relevant words.
- ● Use table tags for both tables of data and for positioning content.
After a quick study, we came to a conclusion that algorithms used by Google aren’t precise for related or similar content.
For instance, Google will treat section, article, and div elements the same way when grouping together text sections. Such elements are less important than a proper understandable structure and the relationship between the elements.
How is Using Semantic HTML Beneficial for Users
Semantic HTML main purpose is to enhance the experience of the user without differentiating their backgrounds and disabilities.
Following are the advantages of using Semantic HTML:
- ● Screen reader software faces a hard time reading our content, Semantic HTML assists the software by providing information to blind or people with difficulties in seeing.
- ● Keyword navigability is very important, when you use Semantic HTML, it ensures proper navigation. Few elements like `<a>` links and `<input>`/`<button>` forms are accessed using keyboard controls, which helps impaired users to understand our content.
- ● Semantic HTML’s simple structure and meaning helps softwares like Braille reader or text to speech etc.
- ● Semantic HTML unlike traditional HTML facilitates responsive web design, making sure that the created content is reachable and readable on all different types of devices.
- ● Future proofing content is also a necessary and difficult task because you have to adhere to web standards. This can be made very easier by using semantic HTML which means all technology, even the upcoming ones will have this content accessible to them.
Web developers can easily create web content which is understandable by both users and systems by simply following the principles of semantic HTML resulting in the best user experience possible.
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To sum up, in the web development industry, Semantic HTML is given a huge importance because of their ability to enhance our way of content creation and consumption (digitally). By using these semantic elements, web developers actually assist both the user and the automated system to understand each other and provide a medium of communication with each other. Semantic HTML also makes an ecosystem which is very easy to navigate and is reachable by different types of audiences. With the increase in technology, Semantic HTML is responsible for things other than just appealing content like it understands and appreciates the right information. Just keep the concerns mentioned above in your mind and use Semantic HTML effectively.