Thread: HTML5 for seo

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    HTML5 for seo


    Lets keep the idea simple. One title and one paragraph of text.

    As html 4

    <h1>my title</h1>
    <p>My paragraph of text</p>

    And we might have it in a page that contains a header and footer

    <div>My logo and strap</div>
    <h1>my title</h1>
    <p>My paragraph of text</p>
    <div>footer details</div>

    If we move it to html5 we now have some additional elements to help...

    So you might convert to

    <header><h1>logo and strap</h1></header>
    <article>
    <h1>my title</h1>
    <p>My paragraph of text</p>
    </article>
    <footer>footer details</footer>

    Now technically thats ok, but when Google see the markup its going to see logo and strap either as the 'main' title or worse still pretty much ignore <h1>my title</h1>

    This is because in the html5 documents, <header> does not really mean 'top of the page', but the header to the most 'important' part of our content.

    So recently I implemented (there is other content on my page, but to keep it simple)

    <div>my logo and strap</div>
    <article>
    <header>
    <h1>my title</h1>
    <p>My paragraph of text</p>
    </header>
    </article>
    <footer>footer details</footer>

    Part of what I want to do with SEO copy is have my h1 seo copy as close to the supporting text as possible, so my fixation with putting a h1 (seo phrase) at the top of the source has to stop.

    In addition if we accept that Google 'understands' html5 markup, then the function of <header> is not that different to <h1> and in that respect for the example page its not actually at the top but further down where the contact starts...

    What Im interested in hearing about is from people who disagree with this idea and most importantly why?

    Wont be offended and will really appreciate answers as Im fascinated with how HTML5 markup impacts SEO in away that just does not happen in HTML4.
    Last edited by Toxitalk; Nov 19th, 2017 at 03:47 AM.
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    You are fine with two <h1> tags. I have two <h1> tags like you listed on all of the sites I maintain. FWIW I use WordPress.
    - Mike

    Jack of all trades, master of none.
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    Mike, thanks for the reply. Its funny, I did use to think along those lines until I did some tests, at which point it became obvious that although HTML5 does support multiple h1's, Google was taking most account of the first h1 (and the content around it) regardless of the markup on the rest of the page.

    So if you do have a h1 in the 'header' (header being the maskhead) then Google sees this as the most important part of the page. Now if that's where all you SEO content is, then that's fine, but for most sites the SEO copy will start lower done under the logo,nav and banner.

    So I brought back to life an old domain and first tested some markup which uses the old thinking. I then changed it for my new thinking (without changing the content or building any links) and the site jumped up the rankings for the phrase..

    But Mike do you have any evidence to support your ideas? (I also build custom WordPress's (coding custom themes from scratch))

    Basically this new way of thinking, if I can tweak to be accurate it would be helpful for new themes I code..
    Last edited by Toxitalk; Nov 19th, 2017 at 04:44 AM.
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  7. Just a Photographer
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    I don't do SEO for a living so I can't show proof. I just "trust" that Google is smart enough to know the <h1> wrapped in the <header> on each page is NOT the most important tag on the page(s).
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    The issue with Google is that it was setup to make money and not offer a public service, so there will always be an agenda.

    So for instance part of the reason for tweaking the algorithm is not to make better search but to 'encourage' as many businesses as possible to buy advertising space.

    So if you look at the once great Google shopping search, it was once free and once there was enough people using it, they flipped the service over so you had to pay to be part of it. They are now moving in the same direction with the maps service.

    So personally I cant trust them, but that goes away from the point really.

    My evidence revolves around first creating a page which used markup for a very good ranking page (if I was based in London they would be a competitor), I then switched it for my normal markup which saw a lift in results (so I knew my base markup was better). I then switched it again for my new style of markup and the page ranked higher again.

    Competitor markup used h1 near the top of the source and used absolute positioning to visually have the h1 at the bottom of the page (dont like this approach as its spammy)

    My base markup had h1 in the header area (with the branding), followed by nav and content. (Was fixated with getting h1 as high as possible, but with it at the top there was a gap between the h1 and the rest of the copy.)

    The new markup treats the theme furniture (branding, nav etc..) exactly like that and <header> is simply a function of the heading for the main part of the copy. This had worked very well and for a site with no real back links its starting to rank properly under its own steam.

    Once I have worked it up with proper copy and some additional pages, if it starts ranking hard, Im going to make the changes to my main site, which is already ranking well, its just run out of steam (which was the reason for looking at this..)

    I did also look at playing with moving the seo phrases away from <h1> (either as a page with no h1, or h2 in the body being the main SEO phrase, but in all experiments, it was obvious that google places the most weight in the first h tag it finds.. That's not to say it ignores the rest, just that the first h tag is over dominant.)

    But thank you for your comments, its something I can look at if this turns out to have issues.
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    Quick update:

    I re coded one of my existing pages to become semantically correct html5, the results show really no improvement in rank.

    Interestingly what seems to have the biggest effect is still how close to the top of the source you seo h and p's are.

    This to me is really disappointing as I had hoped that things had moved on.

    This leaves either putting the h1 in with the branding and having as little gap as possible between the h1 and the rest of the copy or coding the maskhead to the bottom of the source code and pinning it to the top as a sticky header.

    This method while probably producing the better serps, gives you a horrible structured page as your using CSS to bend the order of source just to get ahead on Google while putting your middle finger up at your non visual users.. (I knoow screen readers can help, but to me order of source should follow the visual order on page.

    I will now be trying the sticky header idea to see how that affects things.

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