HTML and semantic tagging

Use HTML elements for the purposes that they were designed for. For example, when you give the title of a standalone work (such as a book or a movie), mark it with a cite element. For more information about semantic tagging, see Semantics in HTML on the MDN web documents site.

In situations where there are no semantically relevant HTML elements, use CSS or the few HTML elements that convey visual style without semantics.

Visual formatting

If you want to achieve specific visual results, don't use HTML elements that convey different semantics.

In particular, follow these guidelines:

  • Don't use frames or tables for layout; instead, use your site's CSS to lay out the page.
  • Don't use the heading elements (such as h1 and h2) to visually style text; instead, use those elements only for hierarchically structured headings, and use CSS for visual style.
  • The em element indicates emphasis, not italics as such. Don't use it to italicize something that isn't meant to be emphasized; instead, use the i element for non-emphasis italics.

  • The strong element indicates strong importance, not bold as such. To bold a word that doesn't merit strong importance, use the b element.
  • The br element is intended "only for line breaks that are actually part of the content, as in poems or addresses." Don't use it to adjust the spacing between lines. Instead, use elements like p to semantically mark the text, and use CSS to adjust line spacing.