Have you ever read a piece of content on the web that was just a wall of words? If you’re like the majority of people, it wasn’t a fun experience, and you might even have abandoned the website to find something else.
Headings are critical for making your website more readable and organized. But, there’s an equally important reason to use them. They are also vital for digital SEO, meaning it makes your website easier for the search engines to interpret and rank.
There are different types of header tags you should be using on your website. Here is what you need to know.
What Are Header Tags and H1 Tags?
A blog post or web page can have multiple headings. HTML is used to differentiate between the types of headings. Simply put, these are a bit of code that tells the web browser how to display the content.
An H1 tag is also used to display the title of a page. Visually, this is the largest heading you’ll see on a page. The next largest is the H2 tag, then the H3 tag, and so on.
This is formatted as an H1 tag
This is formatted as an H2 tag
This is formatted as an H3 tag
This is formatted as an h4 tag
You get the point. As you divide up the content on your page, you’ll use these different heading tags. Your H1 tag goes at the top and tells readers and search engines what your content is about.
Your H2 tags divide up the content on your page. If you have subtopics within your different sections, you can H3 and H4 tags to organize that content.
Why H1 Tags and Headers Are Important
If you’re just putting your title and the top of a page and then writing until you’re done, you’re probably missing the mark. Using headers is a vital part of content marketing and SEO. Here are a few of their benefits:
Creates Text Structure
Headings are guideposts that lead your readers through your content. They (hopefully) say something about what each section is about so that your reader can scan a page and decide what they want (and don’t want) to read.
You want your website to be completely accessible to anyone, and that includes people who are visually impaired and using screen readers. These tools read HTML code to interpret what a webpage is about and help the reader navigate it by using tagged headers.
Finally, headings can benefit your digital SEO efforts because they make your pages more user-friendly. This is one of Google’s ranking factors. Having a confusing or tough-to-read page is likely to count against you with the search engines.
How to Add H1 and Header Tags
Adding these tags to your content is simple. In some content management systems (CMS), you can highlight your text and select the tag you want from a drop-down box. You can also use a combination of keys on your keyboard to designate tags on most programs. For example CTRL+ALT+1 = H1 tag, CTRL+ALT+2 = H2 tag, and so on.
Finally, you add your tags by creating the appropriate HTML code on the “view source” part of your page. To add an H1 tag, you would add:
<h1 class=”heading_title”>This Is My Title</h1>
Best Practices for Using Header Tags
Like any SEO tactics, header tags can help your search rankings. Google says these aren’t a ranking factor, but the customer experience is. So, indirectly, you need to pay attention to header tags, or you’ll likely suffer the consequences. Here are a few best practices for using header tags:
Only Use One H1 Tag
It’s a common misconception that Google only wants you to use one H1 tag. This isn’t true, and the search engine has stated that it doesn’t care. Moz even ran an experiment proving it doesn’t matter. But it’s still a good idea to limit your page to just one H1 tag because Google might use H1’s in place of the title tags and H1’s help with accessibility.
Use Header Tags to Provide Page Structure
As we already discussed, header tags should provide context for your page. Think of them as a table of contents for a book. They not only organize your page into “chapters” but also break up the text and make it more readable. Most people (about 85%) scan articles, so your headers just make this easier and more enjoyable for them.
Keep Your Header Tags Consistent
A good rule of thumb for the user experience is to keep your tags consistent. If you’re going to use title case format instead of sentence case, stick with this choice. Also, try to keep your headings short and as interesting as possible.
Include Keywords in Your Header Tags
When you’re trying to rank your web page for certain keywords, you should use them in your content. Don’t stuff them, but having them in your H1 and at least one header tag tells Google that your page is about a certain topic. But never sacrifice readability for the sake of a few keywords.
Optimize Header Tags for Features Snippets
Google gives businesses another opportunity to show up in organic search results with featured snippets. This is one place where header tags DO impact SEO. Your chance of scoring one of these spots is high if you can include a longtail search term in a header tag and then follow it up with a bulleted or numbered list or an answer.
Get the Help You Need With Digital SEO
H1 and header tag optimization is just one small part of your SEO efforts. Fortunately, this is a fairly simple task and something that can impact the user experience and your search engine rankings.
If you’ve neglected this in the past, Connection Model can perform a website audit to identify areas that could use some optimization, including your tags. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help your business.
Written By: David Carpenter