If you are just getting stuck into website design, development and technical SEO, you will have come across the term “HTML”. You have probably given some thought about its role in the entire process. What role does it play in digital marketing world? The simple answer is that it plays one of the most important roles when it comes to internet use.
What is HTML?
It is the abbreviation used for Hyper Text Markup Language. That might not really answer your question. What is it really? Hyper Text Markup Language is a digital or electronic language that was first created in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee. Tim Berners-Lee actually invented the World Wide Web in 1989. Just one year later, Hyper Text Markup Language coding language was born. The language was designed to create digital pages for online use that displayed in a format that humans could understand. The pages needed to be able to connect to each other by means of hyperlinks were used and certain elements needed to be displayed in certain ways. Absolutely every page on the internet includes a version of Hyper Text Markup Language code to this very day.
What is Hyper Text Markup Language Used For?
You might wonder why this electronic language is required for viewing and interacting with pages on the internet. Why can’t a web page be displayed just the way it is? The thing is, without the language, a web page would be useless to you. You would not see content on your computer screen as you currently see it. Specific code is used to ensure that text and images are correctly formatted so that internet browsers can access them and display them correctly to you. It is the code that tells the web browser what is on the page (text, images, videos etc.). The web browser and the web page created speak the same language. Basically, the web browser converts the code into what you see on your screen.
This still might not make perfect sense to you. Why do all web pages look unique if the same language and code is used to format them? Well, somewhere along the line, internet users and website owners wanted to customise pages according to their preferences and the code provides the perfect frame for this. Cascading Style Sheets are the reason pages look unique. This is a type of overlay placed on the main structure that acts like “wall paper” or a skin which changes the appearance.
Hyper Text Markup Language is not particularly difficult to learn and those who have a bit of time to study it, very quickly learn the ropes. The language consists of a number of codes that are typed in a text format. The web designer or developer will usually create this code. Once the code is complete and it includes all the elements (text, images, videos, layouts, tables), it is saved as an .html file. Once the file is uploaded to the website’s server files, it can be seen via a web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox. It is the browser that scans through the code in the files and presents the documents (or pages) according to the code instructions. This is why some websites may appear slightly different on different web browsers – there may be an issue with the code or there could be a problem with the way the browser reads and translates the code.
Designers will use tags and code to create a page manually. However, things have got a bit easier in recent years. There are various text-editors, code editors, design programs and graphical editors that make designing pages a lot easier nowadays.
What is the use of tags in the coding process and are they important? Tags are important when coding in this language as they provide separations in the text and code. Anything that appears in brackets is telling the browser how to display that particular element on the page. As an example, see below.
<b> This is an example of bold text code</b>
Appears like this on a web page when you view it:
This is an example of bold text code:
As you can see, the code
<b> </b> tells the browser to display what is between the codes in bold format. Each tag will ensure a different function is performed by the web browser. Understanding the Hyper Text Markup Language is important to ensure that the correct code and tags are used during the website creation process.
To see and understand an example of a page in this particular code, you must know the following.
Tags divide a page into various sections namely; head, title, body. Every single code used on a page is enclosed between two
- The head tag:
The head tag appears as follows:
<head> </head> and contains what is known as the “header information”. This means that between the head tags, a browser and search engine crawlers can find the page title, meta description, keywords, and other relevant information.
- The title tag:
The title tag appears as follows:
<title> </title> and contains the main title of the web page. This is a good place to ensure that relevant keywords are used.
- The body tag:
The body tag appears as follows:
<body> </body> and contains the actual content of the page. This is where everything that will be displayed on the page is found, including text, audio, videos, and images.
To put this all together into an example of a page, see below:
`<title>Example of code</title>`
<h1> Hyper Text Markup Language: What is it?</h1>
<h2>What is Hyper Text Markup Language used for?</h2>
<h3>The basics </h3>
How to Check an HTML Sitemap of a Website
A sitemap is a way of showing browsers how to quickly and easily navigate your website and HTML plays an important role in creating one. The sitemap is a bulleted outline of the website’s navigation, in text format. To find a website’s sitemap you can type in the domain name followed by
Creating a Hyper Text Markup Language sitemap for your website is highly beneficial to your SEO and of course, the user experience that you are providing. XML sitemaps are typically aimed at search engine crawlers, whereas HTML sitemaps are designed for the convenience of humans. The benefits of creating a Hyper Text Markup Language sitemap are many. They:
- Help lost browsers easily find their way.
- Ensure that your entire website can be crawled by search engines, as every anchor link is listed.
- Provide quick access to information, as all content becomes one or two clicks away from the main home page.
- Improve search engine rankings, as sitemaps are aimed at making the browsing process convenient for consumers – and Google considers this adding value to the user experience.
Google Search Console provides some helpful advice and guidance on how to create and submit a sitemap to the search engine.
Hyper Text Markup Language has clearly played a major role in the creation and presentation of websites since the dawn of the internet. It seems that it is one of the most vital technical elements used in design and marketing of websites still to this day. If you are working on your website creation and SEO, do not forget to pay attention to your HTML and the role it plays in the SEO process.