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Using HTML5 Time and Address Tags for Local SEO

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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.


Guest Blogger Matt Dolge
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.

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  • I think all of your tips are great! Break it up and list it down.
    It always seems better and also more understandable when you write your
    tips like that. Thanks for the tips! Regards!

  • Fantastic blog! Do you have any suggestions for
    aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thank you!

    • WordPress is a great choice. My advice would be to write about what you truly care about.

  • Great post. The problem could be that you don’t really know how to properly optimize your site for local search. Sometimes the process of achieving the ranking you expect can be a lot more complex than you think.

  • This is a really informative post! Thanks so much for this Matt.

  • Thanks. It seems that the tag is often one that get’s missed 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing, i love anything related to Local SEO.I spent lots of time to read and implement.