Google Answers Question About The “Impact” Of ARTICLE Semantic HTML Element

Google’s John Mueller answered a question as to whether the “ARTICLE” semantic HTML element has an impact on Google Search.

This is a good question because the use of semantic HTML is generally regarded as a good practice.

But does it have an SEO impact on Google Search?

What is the
HTML Element?


HTML element is a versatile HTML element that can be used to denote standalone sections of a webpage.

It doesn’t necessarily tell Google and browsers that everything within the opening and closing

elements are articles in the way that word is generally understood.


element can be used for article excerpts on a category page, for product descriptions, for user generated content like blog comments or an individual forum post.

It can even be used for a widget.

What the

HTML element represents is a single self-contained item of content.

The official W3C definition of the article element is:

“The article element represents a complete, or self-contained, composition in a document, page, application, or site and that is, in principle, independently distributable or reusable, e.g. in syndication.

This could be a forum post, a magazine or newspaper article, a blog entry, a user-submitted comment, an interactive widget or gadget, or any other independent item of content.”

Furthermore, the

element could be considered redundant if used within an area of content that is the main content area.

The official W3C specs further explain:

“When the main content of the page (i.e. excluding footers, headers, navigation blocks, and sidebars) is all one single self-contained composition, that content may be marked with an article, but it is technically redundant in that case (since it’s self-evident that the page is a single composition, as it is a single document).”

That means it’s not necessary to add an

HTML element within the
HTML element, since the
element signals that everything within the opening and closing of that element is the main content.

But what about an SEO impact from the use of the


Does Article HTML Element Have an Impact on Google?

The person asking the question wanted to know what impact the Article element has on Google search.

They asked:

“Does the use of an

HTML tag have an impact on Google?

Is it better to put the content of a product listing page in an


John Mueller answered:


HTML element does not have any particular effect in Google Search.

This is similar to lots of other kinds of HTML tags.

There’s so much more to using HTML than just Google Search though!

Sometimes there are accessibility or semantic reasons to use a specific kind of markup, so don’t only focus on SEO.”

What Good is the Use of Semantic HTML?

Semantic HTML is not a ranking factor.

For indexing purposes, Googlebot is most interested in the main content of a webpage because that’s the part that gets ranked.

The value of semantic HTML is to make it clear what the individual sections of a webpage are, in particular the section that constitutes the Main Content.

This is what Mueller refers to when he said, there are “semantic” reasons for using semantic HTML elements.

By semantic, he doesn’t mean in the sense of language.

The use of the word “semantic” in the context of HTML means that these HTML elements convey the meaning or purpose of the content that is wrapped within those elements.

Thus, the purpose of content within the