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Can I wrap header, main, and footer HTML tags in divs for SEO?

Webmasters Asked by TamirNahum on October 27, 2020

I’m working on my brand new website and I’m trying to make it as optimized as possible mainly for SEO.
In order to reach that goal, I’m trying to do best practices for it’s hierarchy.

My website is hierarchy is as the following:

<html>
    <head>
        <!-- ... -->
    </head>
    <body>
        <div id="wrapper">
            <div id="menu">
                <nav>
                    <!-- ... -->
                </nav>
            </div>
            <div id="content">
                <div id="content-wrapper">
                    <div id="main">
                        <header role="banner"></header>
                        <main role="main">
                            <article>
                                <section>
                                    <h1>Article Title</h1>
                                    <p>Article Description</p>
                                </section>
                                <section>
                                    <h2>Sub-Heading</h2>
                                    <p>
                                        Text comes here..
                                    </p>
                                </section>
                            </article>
                            <section id="global-contact-form">
                                <form>
                                    <!-- ... -->
                                </form>
                            </section>
                        </main>
                        <footer></footer>
                    </div>
                </div>
            </div>
        </div>
        <div id="contact-button">
            <!-- This is a fixed block -->
        </div>
    </body>
</html>

My question is:
Is it correct to wrap the <header>, <main> and <footer> into divs, as shown on the code above?

2 Answers

Google doesn't care how you structure your HTML tags. As long as you use a <title> tag, appropriate meta tags, and link with <a href=""> tags, little of your HTML is going to change your SEO.

Google cares far more about your content. Google cares that your page is useful to and usable by your users. Google has long said that they don't give any ranking boosts for HTML correctness. Google doesn't care if pages validate, as long as they render to users in modern browsers. Google doesn't care about semantic correctness, Google cares that users can navigate your site.

Google used to care more about tags. Using headings and bold used to help SEO. Not anymore. Google now renders your pages and sees what words are big and prominent as they are rendered, not based on what tags they are in.

There may be other reasons to structure your HTML tags a certain way. It could make your development standardized. It could help screen readers for blind users. But you shouldn't spend time optimizing your HTML structure for search engines.

Answered by Stephen Ostermiller on October 27, 2020

It's perfectly acceptable to wrap these elements in divs, as far as SEO.

As far as best practices, it's also fine to use divs like this as long as those divs serve a structural or stylistic purpose. Of course if they aren't useful, they should just be removed.

Answered by Maximillian Laumeister on October 27, 2020

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