Two Scoops of SEO?
SEO tastes better with HTML 5
HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the computer language devised to create Web sites. The “recipes” for HTML come in different flavors that have evolved with the needs of the Internet through time. The last two flavors that were developed to improve web standards were HTML 4 and XHTML 1. Web standards are programming rules for longevity and usability of web pages that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet devices. Think of HTML 4 as vanilla ice cream and XHTML 1 as vanilla ice cream with toppings. The toppings like chocolate sprinkles, nuts and cherries are XML (Extensible Markup Language). XML is a meta-language for describing markup languages. It seeks to define HTML tags and the structural relationships between them. Tags might include a list item (LI) or an unordered list (UL). XHTML 1 was an update of HTML 4 with added XML syntax or “topping” for increased levels of strict authoring web standards. Examples include mandatory closing tags, lowercase tag attributes and many more toppings and structures.
The ice cream shop for search engines
The most recent version is HTML 5, an extension of HTML 4 and XHTML 1.0. HTML 5 is like Cold Stone Creamery for search engines. All the ice cream toppings are organized in clear glass containers so you can easily choose what you want on your ice cream. This version promises to deliver greater SEO friendly markup code, and clean creative structured options that will strengthen the author’s ability to program with new tags like audio, video, header, nav, aside and article. The new tags are like an ice cream menu for search engine spiders, instead of a blind taste test for information, that let the spiders crawl sites with a predefined understanding of the author’s intent. Tags like nav for example will always point the search engines to the navigation of a Web site making it quick and easy for spiders to crawl.
XHTML 2 is SEO friendly too
There are great rewards ahead in this new version of HTML, but what happened to XHTML 2? XHTML 2 is just like HTML 5 in our ice cream toppings scenario with the toppings stored in clear glass containers, but it also has a sample station where you can try all the toppings before you put them on your ice cream. XHTML 2 further separates content and structure from the page, increasing usability and accessibility, and also gives search engine spiders more a “cleaner” web to crawl.
The W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. The W3C hopes to accelerate progress of HTML 5 by pushing XHTML 2 out of production for now. The XHTML 2 Working Group charter expires as scheduled at the end of 2009, the charter will not be renewed. By doing so, and by increasing resources in the HTML Working Group, they hope to accelerate the progress of HTML 5. Although XHTML 2 is dead for now, XHTML 1 will live long in HTML 5.
HTML 5 and XHTML 2 are both very SEO friendly code; In HTML 5 we will use “nav” as the tag for navigation but in XHTML 2 “nl” is the tag for navigation lists. New XHTML 2 syntax such as the “role” attribute is simply a way to add semantics and metadata to existing elements, just like giving you a taste of a topping before you put it on your ice cream.
The future of HTML and SEO
How will HTML 5 handle the future of the web with Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Worlds and Mobile everything? What will SEO even mean in five to ten years? Will the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) just be thoughts in our heads or robots holding our hands to our destination? All we know for sure is that each wave of innovation makes it easier and easier to find the information, products and entertainment we crave. That, and that ice cream will always taste good.
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