Edinburgh New Media Breakfast: HTML5 & Follow-up from this morning’s SEO & PPC seminar

I’m just back from presenting on the “Joy of Search” for the New Media Breakfast series that runs monthly in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.  It was another excellent turnout (60+) and the stunning Tower Restaurant in Edinburgh provided the backdrop.

Unlike the Glasgow event we sadly didn’t have a Twitterfall in action which was a shame but #NMB has still been very busy on Twitter.  (It’s going to take me a while to catch up with all the Tweets so bear with me!)

Here’s some follow up:


Kelly (@macfack) asked a question about HTML5 which I used the “I’ll come back to you” get out of jail free card.  I asked her for a bit of clarity into the question which has been very helpful, because I thought the question related more to rich web based applications (e.g. Google Wave) .  Here’s her question:

As I understand it, and I’m not a code monkey so my knowledge is basic, HTML5 is going to standardise the elements in a web page that Google scans and removes the need for content to be wrapped in the <div> or <span> tags. Essentially the elements will be given their own tags like <article>, <nav>, <video> or <audio> etc so search engines can dissect a web page content easier and faster.

Does this mean HTML5 is going to make SEO easier and if yes shouldn’t we all be getting ready for this now to be ahead of the competition?”

HTML5 certainly has the potential to make life easier for search engines, particularly for making it easier (for them) to get to the heart of a web page (e.g. the article itself), whilst making it easier to not get diverted by the more “boilerplate” elements of a page e.g. headers, primary navigation etc.

At this simple web page level, will it make SEO easier? Not really in my view, it’s not a major shift from what we know the engines are capable of already, and its not that big a shift.

The progression it brings for audio and video is formalising what is good practice anyway.  However, it will make it less of a hit and miss process so that has to be good news.

The more Application related side of HTML is a much more complex question (and hence my stumbling this morning!).  We know that search engines are starting to support “Microformats” which are already good for tagging your review content and geo-location data in particular, so yes here’s an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

It seems to me though that there are still many unanswered questions on some of the more advanced capabilities that HTML5 has in relation to the creation of desktop-like applications and the online/offline interactions.  With my very non-technical background I surmise that it will be a long time before the search engine will have the ability to fully deal with it (especially with content that is not permanently on a page).  The progression to watch is the development of the standards with respect to Accessibility and apply the old rule that if its accessible, the search engine will be able to understand it.

So should we be worrying about HTML5 – not in a big way especially for simple sites.  The evolution has a long way to go yet and search engines will be a few steps behind (this despite Google’s love for HTML5 for many of its own products.)

Glasgow and Northumberland

Apologies if I gave the impression that I was going to explain this conundrum in my presentation – I wasn’t but feel free to catch me at Edinburgh Coffee Morning tomorrow and I’ll give you the very dull explanation.

Attacat Mugs

I’m pleased to say that at least one Attacat Mug has been put to good use already (@macfack again!).  If you didn’t get one this morning feel free to drop into 26 St Stephen Street to get one or alternatively they are on sale at the National Museum of Scotland Shop (although their stock is limited to one – ahem)

National Museum of Scotland Shop

Thank You

Thanks to:

  • Anna Knight from Head resourcing for being the brave one to tell us all about her business.  I hope you got some useful feedback Anna and of course a mug!
  • Thanks to the Tower Restaurant for looking after us so well.  (Please note the Faulty part of Faulty Tower was all our fault!)
  • To the many who were kind enough to big up the event both before and after to all their Twitter followers
  • To Belinda at WinningEntrepreneurs for the promotion and organisation – first class as ever.

Thanks again to the NMB team for a fantastic opportunity to talk to such a good looking and intelligent audience.  (As some of you know I have been very worried about the lack of sexiness of Search with all the hype around social media, so it was great to see so many people as well as a lot of younger folk)

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