Semantic HTML is a style of coding that gives meaning to content on the page by using HTML elements rather than depending solely on CSS classes and IDs. This allows screen readers and search engines to easily identify the purpose and structure of the content.
What is Semantic HTML?
Well, simply put, semantic HTML is the practise of structuring the content on web pages with code that is meaningful to both humans and machines. For example, instead of simply using a “div” tag, one would use an appropriate HTML5 element such as an “article”, “section” or “header”. This practise has been gaining significant traction in the web development community since it improves readability and offers major benefits over traditional page markup.
At its core, semantic HTML helps to provide greater context to web pages by utilising HTML tags that denote the source or function of a web page’s content—rather than simply presenting a hierarchical list of relatively meaningless elements on a page. This gives a greater sense of purpose to not only the developers but also for search engine spiders, who can quickly determine what type of document has been presented with semantic coding. Of course, not everyone agrees with this practise and there are valid arguments against it. One example is that there isn’t always an easy way to semantically represent complex data structures; however, grouping related bits of information together can help alleviate this issue.
Regardless of which side of the argument one may find themselves on, semantic HTML does open the door for many possibilities that weren’t possible before. Moving forward, let us explore these potential advantages in further detail.
- A study published in 2017 found that using semantic HTML tags can help to improve search engine optimisation (SEO) on websites.
- According to a 2019 survey, almost 70% of web developers reported using semantic HTML elements in their projects.
- Research has shown that by using semantic HTML elements, web developers can reduce code bloat and enhance browser performance.
Benefits of Semantic HTML
Now that we have established what semantic HTML is, let’s discuss why it’s important. The primary benefit of taking the time to utilise semantic tags is improved accessibility. Semantic HTML tags provide structure and meaning to the page allowing search engine spiders, robots, users with disabilities, and other web crawlers to more easily interact with your content.
Using these tags also makes a webpage easier to navigate because they give context to what certain words mean on the page by using elements such as