When building web pages, we use a combination of non-semantic HTML and Semantic HTML. The word semantic means “relating to meaning,” so semantic elements provide information about the content between the opening and closing tags.

By using Semantic HTML, we select HTML elements based on their meaning, not on how they are presented. Elements such as <div> and <span> are not semantic elements since they provide no context as to what is inside of those tags.

For example, instead of using a <div> element to contain our header information, we could use a <header> element, which is used as a heading section. By using a <header> tag instead of a <div>, we provide context as to what information is inside of the opening and closing tag.

Why use Semantic HTML?

  • Accessibility: Semantic HTML makes webpages accessible for mobile devices and for people with disabilities as well. This is because screen readers and browsers are able to interpret the code better.

  • SEO: It improves the website SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of increasing the number of people that visit your webpage. With better SEO, search engines are better able to identify the content of your website and weight the most important content appropriately.

  • Easy to Understand: Semantic HTML also makes the website’s source code easier to read for other web developers.

To better understand this, you can think of comparing non-semantic HTML to going into a store with no signs on the aisles. Since the aisles aren’t labeled, you don’t know what products are in those aisles. However, stores that do have signs for each aisle make it a lot easier to find the items you need, just like Semantic HTML.


Analyze the diagram and take note of key differences between non-semantic and semantic code.

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