Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

How well does Googlebot deal with non-standard tags?

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How well does Googlebot deal with non-standard tags? Nahrwold Internet 10/7/10 10:20 PM
I have read the FAQs and checked for similar issues: YES
My site's URL (web address) is:
Description (including timeline of any changes made):
This is a development site I am currently working on for a client.  Username is votcdc Password is EternalWorks ( no private information... username/password is only enforced to keep client from sending regular traffic to site)

I am working on a way to clean up my source code for readability, programibility, and SEO.  I was working to migrate to HTML5, with HEADER, SECTION, and ASIDE tags.  While changing my old DIV tags to the new tags, I decided to create some new, custom, non-standard tags (div class="overview" became OVERVIEW, div class="programs" became PROGRAMS, etc).  My HTML is beginning to look more like XML, but the site looks the same in all browsers (after using createElement in IE for each new tag), has clean code, and clean CSS.

Will googlebot be able to deal with the information contained in these custom tags?  And of course:  Will using these custom tags affect my page ranking?
Re: How well does Googlebot deal with non-standard tags? JohnMu 10/17/10 6:52 AM
Hi Nahrwold Internet

In general, our crawlers are used to not being able to parse all HTML markup - be it from broken HTML, embedded XML content or from the new HTML5 tags. Our general strategy is to wait to see how content is marked up on the web in practice and to adapt to that. If we find that more and more content uses HTML5 markup, that this markup can give us additional information, and that it doesn't cause problems if webmasters incorrectly use it (which is always a problem in the beginning), then over time we'll attempt to work that into our algorithms. With that in mind, I definitely wouldn't want to stand in the way of your implementing parts of your site with HTML5, but I also wouldn't expect to see special treatment of your content due to the HTML5 markup at the moment. HTML5 is still very much a work in progress, so it's great to see bleeding-edge sites making use of the new possibilities :)