The Potential Impact of HTML5 on Search Engine Optimization

There has been a lot of discussion about the next major revision of the HTML standard that is still in the pipeline. HTML is also an integral part of all SEO efforts and with the widespread adoption of HTML5; search engines will be able to use a number of new elements to find those page elements that interest them.

Page Segmentation

HTML5 adds new elements to a webpage that results in better expression of the content. Various page elements and different parts of the page like header, footer, and the main content area will be easily distinguishable from each other. This is expected to improve web page segmentation. The elements that are used to organize and segment a page neither add any semantic value nor do they give the page any context. New , , and elements will add more meaning to the webpage, which will allow easy crawling and enhance the efficiency of the indexing processes. Web crawlers are expected to either skip sections like the footer> or or utilize them for varied indexing purposes like finding the name and logo of the website and identifying copyright information.

Search Engine Indexing

The new HTML5 elements will have a direct impact on SEO and make the indexing process advanced and more meaningful.
The element will enable people to indicate webpage content, so search engines can assign more weight to the content within this element.

The element gives sections an information hierarchy that can be analyzed by web crawlers to understand page segmentation and structure. Each section will now have its own HTML heading.
The element indicates the location of the site name and logo of a web page that helps crawlers determine where the primary navigation menus are located.
The element contains copyright information, the terms of use, privacy policies and social media profiles.
The element acts like a sitemap that tells search engine indexing algorithms about the information architecture of your website.

Link Types

HTML5 link types are expected to boost link meaning thorugh new attribute values like rel=”author” and rel=”license that provide better link description. For blog posts that are broken down into many web pages, the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” attributes can be used to link all the pages seamlessly. elements link types that will influence SEO include alternate, author, bookmark, external, help, icon, license, next, nofollow, norefferer, pingback, prefetch, prev, search, sidebar, stylesheet, tag, etc.

Multimedia Elements

New multimedia elements such as and are expected to have increased interoperability with search engines akin to the indexed images displayed through Google Images.Work on HTML5 is still in progress and it is important to understand the potential implications that this new release of the markup language (that enables us to structure content and gives search engines the required context to understand all the information on a webpage) may have on search engine algorithms.