How to Use Heading Tags: SEO Best Practices in 2020

posted bydopweb22/05/2020

Heading tags - H1, H2, H3… tags - are essential HTML elements that serve to structure your content while helping search engines read it on your web pages. Headings also play an important role in SEO and can help boost your website’s online visibility tremendously.

In this article, we will go over the importance of headings, and particularly the H1 tag, for SEO. You will learn how to use heading elements to optimize the way web crawlers read and reference your pages. Let’s get started with these key points:

What Are Heading Tags?

Heading tags are elements of an HTML code that help to structure the content written on your web pages. Headers range from H1- H6, with the H1 tag being the most important tag of your page.

Let’s take a common example to understand headings better.

If you think about an online magazine article, you will notice that the title of the article is written in larger characters and often emphasized in bold or italic. This title is associated with an H1 header tag because it gives information about the main topic that your article is covering. The titles of the other paragraphs of the magazine article will be associated with H2s, H3s, H4s tags and so on.

These tags will play an essential role in SEO when search engine crawlers come on your pages. Indeed, they serve to indicate to web crawlers what your content is about. Your H1 tag will help the web crawlers understand what key topic your article is about. While your H2, H3, H4... tags will help web crawlers understand what each paragraph is about.

This whole process strongly helps search engine crawlers to read your pages’ content correctly and better. But most importantly, it facilitates the process for web crawlers of understanding and matching your page for the right user search query.

As Google’s resident SEO expert John Mueller said in a recent interview: “headings help Google understand your page a little better. In turn, the search engine can send in users who are explicitly looking for your content”.

Importance of an H1 Header For SEO

All heading tags on a web page play an overall important role in search engine optimization. However, the H1 header is the most important tag element of a web page for SEO. And why is that so?

- Improves website user-experience: In fact, if your H1 header is relevant for your page content, it makes it easier for users to know if your page will provide them the answers to what they were looking for.

Moreover, an engaging H1 header will capture the users’ attention, and give them an incentive to continue reading your content. This is a great indicator for search engines that your page is being widely visited for a certain topic. Therefore, it also improves your chances of being ranked higher for the same topic.

- Informs better search engine crawlers: Web crawlers analyze top keywords from your headings, titles, and content, to understand the context of a web page. The H1 header explicitly tells the search engine crawlers what your page content is about and how relevant it is for a topic.

Then, the web crawlers can send more users to your page who are looking for that specific content. Ultimately, this will help boost your pages click-through rate and the number of visitors you get on your website, leading to better SEO rankings.

- Improves your website usability and accessibility: The H1 tag element is particularly for usability for persons with visual impairments and people who use screen readers. It will allow major screen readers to skip to the H1 tag on the page and to tell that visitor what the page is about. If the H1 tag is misplaced or is missing, it will reduce your website usability and accessibility.

Website usability and accessibility are both important ranking factors for search engines. Google specifically emphasizes mobile usability and accessibility as ranking factors. Therefore, having relevant and engaging heading tags on each of your website pages is important to make your website usable and accessible.

Dopweb builder automatically adjusts H1 tag

When you create your website on our website builder, dopweb automatically adjusts the H1 tag on your pages to prevent any SEO errors.

Unlike other website builders, we make sure that your H1 tag is always associated with your header at the top of your page. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about having multiple H1 on your web pages, we also automatically remove H1 header tags duplicates.

A common mistake that happens when creating a website on other website builders is that your H1 tag gets placed somewhere else on your page. In fact, if you use a drag-and-drop tool to move your header section on your page, your H1 tag will not be updated in the HTML code of your page.

This means that when web crawlers visit your page and can’t find the H1 tag they were looking for, they will have a hard time reading your page. This, in turn, leads to a poor indexation of your page and lessens the chances that your page will be well referenced on search engines.

Also, if you duplicate a section on one of your pages, your H1 tag will be duplicated as well. And as mentioned above, having multiple H1 tags is not ideal for SEO since it will confuse the web crawlers on which header is the most relevant for your page. Therefore, it diffuses the value of your H1 tag rather than enhancing it.

With Dopweb, you can rest assured that your H1 tag is always automatically updated in our code, whether you drag-and-drop sections, or duplicate them.

Optimize heading elements for better SEO

If you want your heading tags to have a substantially positive impact on search engine optimization, you should follow these key guidelines to maximize their impact.

- Have an H1 tag on every page of your website, and use only one: That’s the first best practice that everybody that owns or manages a website should follow.

This will not only help web crawlers to read better the content on your pages individually, but it will also boost your website’s overall SEO performance. Also, use only one H1 tag, to have only one header that appears like a big title on your page for users and crawlers, and to avoid any confusion.

- Use heading tags for better page structure: Using your heading tags to structure your content and to breakdown text, will give better clarity to crawlers trying to read your page.

The H1 header will inform the reader of the main topic of your page. The H2s headers serve to describe the topics that you will talk about in the sections of your article. Then, use H3s to H6s headers, for structuring your text within each section, into subtopics for example. If you are writing a blog article or a listicle, for example, this technique can be very useful.

- Unique and relevant heading tags: Your heading tags should always be unique and relevant to your content, on each page of your website.

Your pages H1 headers specifically should always inform users and web crawlers on what they will learn from your content. Therefore, a best practice is to write heading tags that are unique, interesting, and relevant for each of your different web pages.

- Include your top keywords in your header: Since search engine crawlers will be looking for information about your content in your heading tags, you would want to include your top keywords in the titles.

This applies particularly for your H1 tag, because it is the one that holds the most value in terms of information for web crawlers. Of course, include your keywords if they are relevant and make sure that your titles are still easy to read and understand.

- Optimize for featured snippets: You can also use headings, like H2s-H6s tags, to structure list items in your article. This can highlight your list elements better for web crawlers. Google will then use those indicators to form its own bullet points list to answer certain search queries.

Heading Tags for SEO summarized

In conclusion, heading tags are important for SEO and when used correctly, can boost your rankings, web traffic, and website conversions.

The H1 tag on each of your website pages will play a primary role in SEO and therefore should always retain your attention. Make sure to always write relevant and engaging H1 headers titles, that will be as easy to read for users and web crawlers.

Including your top keywords in your heading tags and particularly in your H1 header is also a best practice to use. It simply indicates to search engine crawlers and users, what the main topic covered in your page and in your sections is. Then, the crawlers can start sending more users to your page when they look for this main topic.

Finally, make it a best practice to provide content that you think is interesting, relevant, and engaging for your audience. Your heading tags will serve to structure it and break it down, making it more pleasant for your readers, and crawlers to read your pages.

At dopweb, we can help you optimize your website structure and content for improved web traffic, conversions, and SEO performance. We, of course, include heading tags optimization for SEO on each of your web pages to guarantee the best results for our clients.

Request a free quote with us today to get started!

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