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I'm building poetry web site and I wanted some HTML structure tips for entries.

Example:

<h1>This is poetry title</h1>
<p>
    Poem's line 1. <br />
    Poem's line 2. <br />
    Poem's line 3. <br />
    Poem's line 4. <br />
</p>
<p>
    Poem's line 5. <br />
    Poem's line 6. <br />
    Poem's line 7. <br />
    Poem's line 8. <br />
</p>

Would this be considered well-designed SEO structure for poem?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your basic HTML structure is fine. You could use microdata for additional semantic markup.Creative Work is probably the best fit. You can use name, author, and genre.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/CreativeWork">
    <h1 itemprop="name">This is poetry title</h1>
    <p itemprop="author">
        George PHP
    </p>
    <p itemprop="genre">
        Poem
    </p>
    <p>
        Poem's line 1. <br />
        Poem's line 2. <br />
        Poem's line 3. <br />
        Poem's line 4. <br />
    </p>
    <p>
        Poem's line 5. <br />
        Poem's line 6. <br />
        Poem's line 7. <br />
        Poem's line 8. <br />
    </p>
</div>  
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Because your answer is related to markup I choose this as answer. Thank you very much, really helpful and interesting thing, I've not known about before. –  George PHP Sep 11 '13 at 16:21

The structure of your markup usually has no impact on search engines. For example, Google has said that they don't even care whether or not your markup "validates", as long as it doesn't look broken to users: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XlKn6I9rSc

There is only one time when specific markup helps: when search engines display listings differently in the result pages because semantic markup exists in the page. The semantic markup suggested by John Conde is fine, but it will have no impact on your rankings or your display in the results because Google doesn't (currently) have a special display format for poems.

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Stephen Thank you for deep and comprehensive answer. Cheers –  George PHP Sep 11 '13 at 16:23

In most cases, p and br is the way to go. Instead of p+br you could also use the pre element, especially if the poem contains meaningful/unusual whitespace. See my answer on Stack Overflow for examples and more details.

Some background: Someone proposed a Microformat for poems (never took off). For HTML5, a poetry element was proposed (and rejected). In the W3C wiki, there is a discussion about markup for poetic content. In 2007, there was a mailing list thread 'HTML 5' and some poem markup?.

For semantic annotations, you could use RDFa and/or Microdata. If you want to use the schema.org vocabulary, http://schema.org/CreativeWork would be suitable (as described by John Conde).

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Thank you very much, really great answer. Cheers –  George PHP Sep 16 '13 at 9:20

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