What is Semantic HTML?
Semantic markup, also known as semantic HTML, involves the use of HTML tags that convey the content’s meaning or semantics. It is a way of writing and structuring your HTML (also known as Hypertext Markup Language) with the goal of emphasising the semantics or meaning of your site. In other words, it focuses on the structure and content for your website’s page.
What Are Semantic HTML Tags and Non-Semantic HMTL Tags?
Semantic HTML tags are essential to improving your overall site. They are tags that guide the machine or individual to enhance the purpose and meaning of the content they contain.
In contrast, non-semantic HTML tags are only content holders. They do not reveal any demonstration on the type of content they hold. They also do not reveal what purpose the content inherits on the website’s page. For example, <div> and <span> are common examples of non-semantic HTML tags.
Semantic HTML Tags examples include:
- <header> indicates the introductory information of a page or section
- <footer> often involves important contact information, copyright details, and site navigation
- <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. indicate the headings on the website’s page in descending order of significance
- <article> can be used to illustrate a body of text that can be independent of the page’s content
- <main> involves the main body of content of the page and it is recommended that there should be only one main tag per page
- <nav> is used for navigation links
- <a> illustrates a hyperlink
- <strong> and <emphasis> signal that the text inside them is extremely significant
- <p> (paragraph) and closing </p> will contain a paragraph of text (in between the tags)
- <ol> indicates ordered lists
- <ul> indicates unordered lists
- <aside> illustrates content that is not as important as the rest of the content and is often used for sidebars
Should You Use Semantic HTML Tags?
Using semantic HTML is essential for your website and is also highly advantageous for a variety of reasons:
- It indicates the role and purpose of your content which is essential for SEO (search engine optimisation). This enables search engine crawlers, such as Googlebot, to gain an enhanced understanding of your page’s content. As a result, the likelihood of your content ranking high on the search engine results page (SERP) for relevant keywords.
- Using tags will make it easier to read and understand by not only the machine but also by people reviewing your site such as web developers.
- Implementing high quality semantic HTML practices will improve the accessibility of your website as screen readers will be able to communicate your content more accurately. This makes it easier for users who are blind or visually impaired and those who rely on screen readers to understand your content.
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