[whatwg] article/section/details naming/definition problems

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 09:29:22 PDT 2009

On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM, James Cready <jcready at rtcrm.com> wrote:
> Jeremy Keith said:
>> <article>
>>   <h1 />
>>   <article>
>>     <h1 />
>>       ...
>>     <article>
>>       <h1 />
>>     </article>
>>   </article>
>> </article>
> Just curious as to how your above examples would affect SEO. Wouldn't Google
> lower your rank (even just slightly) because you're using multiple h1 tags?

I actually got Ian to ask the search team about this a while back.
Their answer was that, currently, there's probably a small negative
effect from using multiple <h1>s as the spec recommends, but that
it'll likely get revised once the practice becomes common (and thus
not indicative of spam), and in any case the effect is small enough
that one shouldn't worry about it on an otherwise-good site.

Obviously this isn't very specific, but Google relies on obscurity as
a major component of its ranking algorithm, so shrug.

> Also in this example which header is the most important (for SEO, not just
> semantics). Is it the first h3 or the first h1?
> <body>
>  <h3 />
>  <header>
>    <h3 />
>  </header>
>  <article>
>    <h2 />
>      ...
>    <article>
>      <h1 />
>    </article>
>    <hgroup>
>      <h1 />
>      <h2 />
>    </hgroup>
>  </article>
>  <footer>
>    <h3 />
>  </footer>
> </body>

The first <h3> and the two <h3>s in the <header> and <footer> all
create top-level sections by the outline algorithm, I believe.  If we
pretend that the <header> and <footer> had <h4>s instead, then the
first <h3> is the most important one on the page.

For SEO purposes the <h1> *may* be more important currently, but then
again it might not be since it's buried in the page content.  I'm
pretty sure that some extra weight is given to headers early in the
document.  Search engine juju in these cases is really hard to


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