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Google on HTML5: Crawling and SEO

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HTML5 is the latest Hypertext Markup Language form that has become quite popular in such a short time. Modern browsers are now beginning to support HTML5 rendering without having any problems. A rival of the Adobe Flash, it is commonly used in smart phone browsers (like the iPhone) and particular websites.

Despite its popularity, questions regarding search engine optimization and crawling are being raised. Some are skeptical about getting additional factors from the language to provide an extra boost in the SERPs; some worry that it could damage their SEO endeavors; and some doubt if Google can even crawl HTML5.

To shed light on the queries, Google’s John Mu explained the pros and cons of using HTML5 at the Webmasters forum.

According to Mu, Google will have to wait to find out how content is marked up on the Internet. If HTML5 is being frequently used – with its markup providing relevant details and it causing no problems if wrongly used – then Google will include it into the algorithms. Yet in the meantime, there is still much work to be done. It can be of good use to users, but not so much to crawlers and SEO.

While this will not result in an advantage for your content in our search results, it generally wouldn’t be disadvantageous either,” he concluded.

Thus, using HTML5 for search engine optimization and crawling is not yet recommended. At the same time, to design one’s online site using the markup language will not at all provide one’s site an added increase in the rankings, as it is not extensively implemented. For now, it is advisable to use XHTML/HTML4 for SEO efforts, like what most users have been doing.

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