SEO: Nested List vs List, Split Over Divs vs Definition List

Posted by Jon P on Pro Webmasters See other posts from Pro Webmasters or by Jon P
Published on 2011-06-20T06:04:08Z Indexed on 2011/06/20 16:39 UTC
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From an SEO perspective which, if any, is better:

Option 1: Nested lists with h2 tags

<ul id="mainpoints">
    <li><h2>Powerful Analysis</h2>
        <ul>
            <li>Charting and indicators</li>
            <li>Daily trading signals</li>
            <li>Company health checks</li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li><h2>World Market Data</h2>
        <ul>            
                [List Items removed for brevity]
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li><h2>Daily Market Data</h2>
        <ul>
                [List Items removed for brevity]
        </ul>
    </li>
</ul>

Option 2: Divs with h2 and lists

<div id="mainpoints">
    <div>
        <h2>Powerful Analysis</h2>
        <ul>
            <li>Charting and indicators</li>
            <li>Daily trading signals</li>
            <li>Company health checks</li>
        </ul>
    </div>
    <div>
       <h2>World Market Data</h2>
        <ul>
        [List Items removed for brevity]
        </ul>
    </div>
    <div>
        <h2>Daily Market Data</h2>
        <ul>
        [List Items removed for brevity]
        </ul>       
    </div>   
</div> 

Option 3: Definition List

<dl id="mainpoints">
    <dt>Powerful Analysis</dt>
        <dd>- Charting and indicators</dd>
        <dd>- Daily trading signals</dd>
        <dd>- Company health checks</dd>
    <dt>World Market Data</dt>
        [List Items removed for brevity]
    <dt>Daily Market Data</dt>
        [List Items removed for brevity]
</dl>

My instincts tell me that semanticaly the pure list options (1 & 3) are the best and that h2 may be more SEO friendly (1 & 2) which would point to option 1 as being the best option. I do love the lean makeup of the definition list but will I take an SEO hit by losing the h2 tags?

Before anyone asks, h2 is not valid markup in a dt tag.

Are my instincts right with a nested list being the way to go?

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