Web Semantics and Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing websites for search engines is not a simple process that only includes keywords and links. Search engine optimization primarily deals with a website’s anatomy and its overall structure. Specifically, a webpage’s coding structure can be easily explained through web semantics. Web semantics plays an important role in SEO and greatly affect how websites are interpreted by search engine crawlers.
What is Web Semantics?
Web Semantics is simply the process of making HTML markups more meaningful and understandable in the eyes of the search engines as well as in the eyes of people (more specifically webmasters, SEOs, and website owners). Google has recently published an article regarding its importance and encouraging authors to familiarize certain HTML elements that have great impact in a website’s overall structure. See excerpt below.
Up until today authors were not always certain about what HTML element to use for what functional unit in their HTML page, though, and “living” specs like HTML 5 require authors to keep an eye on what elements will be there going forward to mark up what otherwise calls for “meaningless” fallback elements like div or span.
In this case, Google clearly emphasized the importance of semantic markup to make HTML elements more understandable and gave a warning to avoid using those ones that don’t provide better meanings. See basic example of web semantics below.
- Title elements (t)
- Heading elements (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6)
- Paragraph elements (p) with an optional attribute of align (left, right, center, justify)
- Body elements (body)
Impact of Web Semantics to SEO
One of the basic factors that affect onsite SEO has to do with the overall structure of a website, more specifically, with its raw components (the coding). A website’s proper structuring of codes through the use of web semantics determines how it will be spidered by search engines and also predicts its overall performance once accessed by users or visitors.
The use of proper web semantics on a webpage guides search engine crawlers which content to prioritize and which ones are the least important. It also provide more understandable meaning to various HTML elements that enables webmasters and SEOs to easily understand how search engines index and spider web data.
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Photo Credit: Photo by Sebastian Kippe. Published under the Creative Common License. .
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