What is new with HTML5 and how does it impact SEO?
Since the first search engines were created, devs and designers have had to struggle with issues of how to increase their ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. It’s not an easy feat, and the algorithms are ever changing.
The major search engines are unwilling to reveal their exact ranking algorithms, and therein lies the main challenge with SEO work, you’re kind of throwing darts at a board while blind folded. They do this to protect themselves from “black hat” Search Engine Optimizers attempting to game the system, while “White Hat” search engine experts must play a constant game of guessing to figure out what strategies prove most effective.
For the past decade or so, Web Designers and Developers have used plug-ins like Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight to add audio, video, and graphics content in their work. The use of these premium have enabled professionals to create glossy and eye catching designs that have attracted visitors, as well as it has won numerous rewards. Althought, these sites have traditionally suffered from low quality SEO ranking due to the inability of web crawlers to index this type of content. Great progress was being made in this area just before the downfall of Adobe Flash. However, to a larger degree, investment in the area of plugin indexing has pretty much stopped completely. HTML5 allows for indexign multimedia content. Menus, audio, video all have new markup tags thanks to HTML5. While it’s true that an HTML5 website can consistently rank higher than the equivalent site built with a plugin, there is some question as to HTML5s suitability for all the the tasks. Frequently, Google instructs us to use “Natural Content” when building a site for our clients. It might have to wait until HTML6 debuts for this to become a reality. In prior years, web developers would use the “rel” attribute on their link tags to specify which links that a web crawler shouldn’t register. In HTML5, there are new values for the “rel” attribute of the link tag that allow us to create a context for a document that, moving forward, should greatly improve search results for users.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, Google announced that HTML5 is “Still a large work in progress” and that the company is still working on ways to index HTML5 content. However, the company is surely making a sincere effort to incorporate the indexing of HTML5 content into its latest versions of web crawlers.
Google’s relationship with HTML5 standards is always in flux, and they remain the focus of most SEO efforts. HTML5’s introduction of new content and ways of describing that content is still unlikely to offer any real SERP benefits. Although, the merits of letting additional content to be indexed with less effort is not in dispute. With HTML5 rapidly becoming the new standard for website development, it is just a matter of time before HTML5 websites begin to outrank old xHTML websites. It would be prudent for web developers to start planning for that future.