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What is Semantic Markup mean?

Semantics is the study of language meaning – the words used to communicate. Semantic markup should be used in web pages we create and modify.

In our technology world we use semantic language. Semantic HTML is the use of HTML markup to reinforce the meaning of the information in webpages and web applications rather than merely to define its presentation or look. Semantic HTML is processed by traditional web browsers as well as by many other user agents.

For HTML it is the tags we use to mark a document up. Markup is how a web document is created, or the way you write a document using the language available to you. For most web documents this is still HTML, so it is how you write the content you want to display using HTML.

Words and semantic markup matter

This older article gives addresses these questions.

  • What does semantic markup mean?
  • That’s enough theory! What does it mean?
  • The danger of CSS
  • So why does semantic markup matter then?
  • Microformats – Semantic Markup on Steroids
  • I’m sold – what next?
  • I’m not sold – it is all a load of rubbish!

Why You Should Care About Semantics?

The benefit of writing semantic HTML stems from what should be the driving goal of any web page— the desire to communicate. By adding semantic tags to your document, you provide additional information about that document, which aids in communication. Specifically, semantic tags make it clear to the browser what the meaning of a page and its content is.

That clarity is also communicated with search engines, ensuring that the right pages are delivered for the right queries.

The article Why to use Semantic HTML? covers the following aspects of using semantic markup.

  • What is Semantic HTML
  • Why You Should Care About Semantics
  • Use Semantic Tags Correctly
  • Which HTML Tags Are Semantic?
  • Semantic HTML Tags

How to Use Semantic Markup to Improve Your Search Results?

Semantic markup is a fancy way of saying you can use HTML tags to tell search engines exactly what a specific piece of content is. Without semantic markup, search engines rely on context to determine what your content relates to. That takes a little longer because search engines don’t read like humans do. With semantic markup, search engines immediately know what your content is and can index it faster and more accurately.

To get more information read this article How to Use Semantic Markup to Improve Your Search Results.

What is Microdata?

Microdata is part of the WHATWG HTML Standard and is used to nest metadata within existing content on web pages. Search engines, web crawlers, and browsers can extract and process microdata from a web page and use it to provide a richer browsing experience for users. This link has the details about Microdata and how one can use it for search engines.

If you wish to learn more…


Many schools are starting in the next week or two. We decided to focus on a number of basic concepts in the coming month to help teachers reinforce industry best practices as they begin a new school year.  We focused on Semantic Markup in HTML this week as many simply don’t understant the necessity of using a <nav> tag instead of a <div>.

We hope you find these resources and overview useful. We always look forward to your comments and feedback (whether you are a member or not).

We encourage members (and non-members) check out our social media channels. If you aspire to be a web professional and don’t know where to start, we offer a number of beginning classes to our members via our School Of Web learning management system. As a member, your first class is free.