Semantic HTML Explained for Students in Digital Marketing School

In the world of web design, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is an essential element for telling web browsers how to read the various components of a web page. The coding language has been around since the birth of the Internet, but has changed over time to include information about the meaning of the content appearing on a web page rather than just information on the page’s appearance. In this form, it is known as ‘semantic HTML’ – drawn from the definition of semantics, which is “to describe what (words) mean.”

As you study digital marketing, it will benefit you to have a basic understanding of semantic HTML and the advantages that can be gained by using it. 

Semantic HTML is More Readable by Both Search Engines and Coders

The purpose of semantic HTML is to reveal the meaning of the content on a web page to both the web browser and the developer, rather than simply defining how the page looks. By providing meaning with your HTML tags, search engines are able to better interpret the context of your pages. This can lead to a better user experience, as the search engine has the context and meaning needed to precisely connect the user with the page they’re seeking through a web search.

As you take your digital marketing course, it’s important to understand that semantic HTML is also a much smoother read for programmers. No matter how seasoned the coder, it’s always a challenge to scan through thousands upon thousands of lines of code day after day. Semantic HTML makes the task easier, by visually condensing the format. A non-semantic version of a code is not only longer, but can also vary in how it’s written depending on the preference of the programmer. This lack of global consistency in format can lead to confusion, making a standardized semantic code the preferable option in many cases. As an example, it’s a lot easier to scan through code seeing simply header and footer rather than how it was written previously, as below:

< div id=”header” >, < div id=”footer” >

Semantic HTML has been designed to be more readable by both humans and machines

How to Use Semantic HTML 

To accurately convey the meaning of the content on a web page so that web crawlers can identify which content is important, HTML elements must be selected according to their meaning, and should be kept separate from the markup of the web page’s presentational elements. The tags being used will automatically tell the web browser, tablet, computer, smartphone, or any other device being used the relative importance of the various sections of the web page. 

Perhaps the best way to give those attending digital marketing school a little more understanding of semantic HTML is to show a few common examples of the coding language:

  • <strong> : Text marked with this tag indicates important text that’s typically boldfaced
  • <em>: Indicates to “stress emphasis” on the marked portion of text  
  • <blockquote>: This is to identify text coming from another source
  • <q>: This indicates text from a different source that’s in quotation marks
  • <h1>: This is an example of a header tag, used through to <h6> to also indicate header type

There are several different types of semantic HTML tags, each telling the human or machine something about the meaning of the content that they mark. Semantic tags also indicate the various sections of content on a page, as well as the priority of those sections.

Why Students Enrolled in Digital Marketing School Should Care About Semantic HTML

HTML 5 is the latest version of semantic HTML, and has been well ingrained into the algorithms of  the most important search engines. Semantic HTML can raise your SEO efforts by providing search engines with meaningful tagging data to weigh against a predetermined hierarchy. How you choose to place your keywords in the HTML hierarchy will make an impact with search engines. As an example, <h1> will be weighed by Google as more important than <h3>.

Using semantic HTML can help to boost your SEO rankings

Taking the time to understand the hierarchy of the many possible tags and structuring your content accordingly can help your web page receive a better ranking—arming your digital marketing team with a key SEO-boosting strategy.

Are you interested in pursuing a digital marketing career?

Contact Cumberland College today to learn more about our program options!


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