HTML5 semantic elements and their meaning for SEO

HTML5 semantic elements and their meaning for SEO

A semantic, properly crafted website or landing page, with all the HTML5 rules and instructions in the code, may have an additional impact on site ranking in the search engine. One of the main reasons why this is important is to improve the accessibility of the website, primarily for people with disabilities. For example, every blind person using a screen reader needs the ability to move to different sections of the page with certain content in them instead of reading all of its content from start to finish. Using the right markers (h1, h2, h3 …) in each section makes this even easier. The user can listen to all sections titles, then judge and pause on that part of the page that’s interesting to them if there are any.

HTML5 semantics for better accessibility and SEO optimization

What is HTML5 semantics and what are the more familiar HTML5 semantic elements. How to use them in the process of building a site and what is their benefit, importance and impact in terms of SEO site optimization.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the latest HyperText Markup Language project that has added several new HTML semantic elements and rules to help improve the accessibility and more accurate indexing and defining the content of the web page by search engines. HTML5 is the latest version of HTML – an Internet standard that builds on each website.

What is the meaning of HTML5 for SEO?

Standard HTML header tags – h1, h2, h3, etc in the code of the web page, form the basis of its SEO optimization. Search engines use these tags to better understand what the content of the page is. Optimizing these tags is a basic SEO practice to improve ranking in search results. In addition to these header tags, HTML5 provides several new semantic elements that can also be used in the process of optimizing the website.

What is an HTML Semantic Element?

Each of the HTML semantic elements has its own specific purpose. For example, the tag <h1> is a semantic element that tells Google bothers and other search engines that the closed content in the tag is the most significant title contained in the HTML document or section of the site. The tag <div>, on the other hand, is a non-semantic element, as it only indicates separation in the HTML document and does not give the search engine information about the meaning and definition of content within the tag.

What are the new semantic markers in HTML5?

The release of HTML5 has led to the emergence of some new semantic markers that provide even more accurate information about search engine bots in terms of content on the web page. Some of the more important, new HTML5 semantic elements and their meaning in terms of SEO optimization:


<article>: This item makes it easier to tag new posts and articles on blogs or news websites. This tag can add more weight to the search engines, the content in the search engine. It also helps for a better and cleaner HTML code, reducing the need to use the <div> tags.

<selection>: Site content is usually divided into different sections, so users, especially those with disabilities, will find it easier to find what they are looking for. The tag <selection> may be used in cases where it is necessary to specify these sections and subsections with content.


<header>: The tag <header> can be used to define and fix the header on the webpage, contain a logo, navigation menu, and other items. Also, this tag can also be used to tag the page header and contain <h1> tag, navigation links, and other appropriate text.


<footer>: Although not so useful, the <footer> tag also offers some SEO benefits as it can be used to determine content at the bottom of the website, such as author’s name, copyright information, a statement for confidentiality, contact information, useful links, and more.

<nav>: Navigation is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of a web site. The <nav> tag can be used to specify the internal links on the site, such as those in the main navigation, as well as other links for posting posts.

<video>: This tag is one of the most useful new tags as it allows compatibility between different browsers in terms of video visualization without the need for Flash. HTML5 also lets you include additional video information.

<figure>: This item may contain an image, an illustration, a chart, or a code snippet, and is self-contained, which means it can be moved without affecting the main document flow. The <figure> tag may also contain <figcaption> in itself if it is necessary to add an inscription to the image.

<aside>: The <aside> tag may serve as a tag on a section that contains secondary content from the site. This item is suitable for marking a sidebar or a section below the main article.

Will this help to better rank the website?

The answers to this question are quite contradictory. There are few published case studies or official confirmations from Google that if the website has the correct semantic HTML5 code, it will affect its better ranking in search results or create a better exposure from public searches. However, it is good to highlight the fact that the more semantic details a bot website provides, the better the search engines will be able to understand and index its content. For this, you can be convinced that the proper use of HTML5 semantic elements would certainly benefit your content and make the site more accessible in general. However, remember that the leading parameter for better SEO optimization is the rich and unique content on the site.