Admittedly, HTML5 is still a work in progress and it may be years until it is fully developed. That doesn’t mean you should have to wait until 2020 though to take full advantage of the awesome features of HTML5 for SEO. There are many HTML5 tags, global attributes, and event attributes that can be utilized on mobile devices, tablets, and even personal computers that will aid in improving your local search engine optimization efforts. Specifically, let’s take a look at two HTML5 tags that improve the handling of hours of business and contact information.
< time >
The < time > tag is new in HTML5 and, appropriately, defines a date and time. While seemingly insignificant, this element can be used in a variety of ways to create machine-readable text to produce smarter local search engine results. Thanks to the datetime attribute, the time element can be used to create localized content based on time zone.
Let’s imagine you own a yoga studio that offers a variety of classes and you want to create a calendar of class schedules. Using the time element combined with the datetime attribute, you can create a class schedule that is specific to your time zone, localizing your class schedule to your specific time zone. Below is an example of how to the use < time > tag with the datetime attribute. This tells the search engine that Bikram Yoga starts at 6:00PM Pacific Standard Time.
Having ditched my pin-up wall calendar and Palm PDA years ago, I rely solely on my mobile phone calendar to manage my time, appointments, and social affairs. As such, I hope that the time element quickly becomes adopted by search optimizers and web developers alike so that with one click I can add appointments to my mobile calendar.
< address >
The other tag that should be on your radar while writing HTML5 for local SEO is the < address > tag. The address element has been under scrutiny ever since its introduction to HTML due to its misuse in displaying postal addresses. In the < address > tag’s defense, it wasn’t until HTML5 that the < article > tag was introduced which allowed portions of a document to become a stand-alone article allowing the address element to be utilized to its full potential. Now with the introduction of the article element in HTML5, the address element can be correctly used to present the contact information for the author or owner of a document or article.
The possibilities of how to use the address element to provide contact information are limitless. Whether you have a single store front or are a national retailer you’ll want to begin to use the address element to localize your content, advertisements, promotions, or blog. Keep in mind that if you use the address element inside the < body > element, it represents the contact information for the document. If you use the < address > element inside the < article > element, it represents contact information for the article.
Combining the time, address, and article tags allows for powerful locally optimized content as shown below:
The use cases for the time and address are limitless and thanks to the SEO-friendly nature of HTML5 and the lightweight code base HTML5 has the potential to create awesome local search results for your business.
Matt Dolge is the Organic Search Manager of Zumiez, the leader of action sports related apparel & equipment. With over 15 years experience in technology and E-commerce, Matt Dolge engineers solutions for large-scale search engine optimizations. Matt Dolge is the founder of Cartel Circuit a consortium dedicated to design, marketing, mobile and web development.