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HTML Article Tag Explained

By

Raqueebuddin Aziz

June 26, 2023

Freelance Web Designer & Developer

HTML Article Tag Explained

article tag has a simple purpose, to divide your page into semantic independent parts.

It is a bit subjective when to use and when not to use the article but let’s see some common places and rule of thumbs for when to use and when not to use the article tag.

When to use article tag

A good rule of thumb when you should use an article tag is when you think the part that you wanna wrap in an article tag can be used and made sense of without everything else on the page. Some examples are:

  • Blog Post: You can wrap a blog post in an article tag as a blog post will make sense even if taken out of your site.
<article>
	<header>
		<h1>HTML Article Tag Explained</h1>
	</header>
	<p>
		Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, qui minim labore adipisicing minim sint cillum sint consectetur
		cupidatat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, qui minim labore adipisicing minim sint cillum sint
		consectetur cupidatat.
	</p>
</article>
  • Comments: You can wrap a comments in an article tag as a comment will make sense even if taken out of your site for example to cite in another blog post / video / newspaper.
<article>
	<figure>
		<blockquote>Gotta say this article is kinda fire XD</blockquote>
	</figure>
	<figcaption>- Raqueebuddin Aziz</figcaption>
</article>
  • Blog Post Card: Similar to a whole article, someone can also take a blog post card and put it on another website and it would still make sense.
<article>
	<img src="/assets/images/blog/html-article-tag-explained.webp" alt="HTML Article Tag Explained" />
	<header>
		<h3>HTML Article Tag Explained</h3>
	</header>
	<p>Explainer on when to use article tag and how you can improve SEO and Accessibility using it</p>
</article>
  • Image: Think of instagram and pinterest, each image can be wrapped in an article tag as each image can be used without everything else on the page and still make sense.
<article>
	<img src="/assets/images/blog/html-article-tag-explained.webp" alt="HTML Article Tag Explained" />
</article>

Another good rule of thumb is to think of would you want this independent piece shown on search results for SEO purposes.

For example a comment might be a good thing to wrap in an article tag on reddit as they would want it to show on search results but it might be better for instagram to wrap their images in article tag instead of comments as that’s what they would want shown in search results and not necessarily comments.

Let us see when not to use article tag.

When not to use article tag

  • Don’t try to divide everything into a semantic independent part using the article tag even if it can be taken out of your site and made sense of, you should only use the article tag on parts that would actually be useful to take out of your site or be useful to assistive technologies like screen readers.

Examples

Overwrapping

<article>
	<figure>
		<article>
			<blockquote>Gotta say this article is kinda fire XD</blockquote>
		</article>
	</figure>
	<article>
		<figcaption>- Raqueebuddin Aziz</figcaption>
	</article>
</article>

In the above example technically yes you can wrap the quote, author and the whole comment in article tag independently, but it’s not useful a quote without a author or an author without a quote.

SEO Benefits

By wrapping relevant independent content in an article tag you give search engines the ability to showcase that information directly inside the search results for example comments from reddit or images from pinterest.

Conclusion

article tag is used for semantic purposes similar to how div tag is used for styling purposes. It’s a bit hard to decide when and when not to use the article tag but if you use the rule of thumbs above you will be fine.

Leave a comment down below, if you learned something new today :)

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