Header tags are still a strong signal for SEO. Google’s John Mueller said it himself:
“When it comes to text on a page, a heading is a really strong signal telling us this part of the page is about this topic.”
Header tags are a simple yet critical part of SEO. Use them wisely and you’ll please the search engine gods, as well as your users.
Here are seven best practices to follow when crafting yours.
What Is A Header Tag?
Header tags are HTML tags that tell a browser what styling it should use to display a piece of text on a webpage.
If we looked up the HTML for the heading above, it’d look something like this:
<h2>What is a Header Tag?</h2>
Like headings in print content, header tags are used to title or introduce the content below them. HTML header tags follow a hierarchy, from <h1> to <h6>.
- H1 tags are used to denote the most important text, such as the main theme or title of content.
- H2 and H3 tags are commonly used as subheadings.
- Finally, H4, H5, and H6 tags may be used to provide further structure within those subsections.
Header tags are helpful for users and search engines. For your users, they give them a preview of the content they’re about to read.
For search engines like Google, they provide context on what your page is all about and provide a hierarchy. Think of header tags as chapter titles in a book. Give them a quick scan, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the content covers.
Header tags are important for SEO because they help Google understand your content, but also because they make your page more user-friendly – by making your content more readable and accessible.
Now, let’s get to the best practices.
1. Use Header Tags To Provide Structure
Your header tags provide structure and context for your article. Each header should give the reader an idea of the information they can glean from the paragraph text that follows below.
2. Break Up Blocks Of Text With Subheadings
A scannable article is a readable article, and a readable article is one that’s more likely to perform well in the search engines.
That’s because Google likes to reward content that’s user-friendly. Content that’s easy to read is, by definition, more user-friendly than content that isn’t.
When an article is scannable, users might actually stick around to read it, instead of bouncing back to Google. Plus, they’ll also be more likely to share it with their friends.
3. Include Keywords In Your Header Tags
As Mueller told us, Google uses header tags to gather context for your page.
As with anything Google pays attention to, that means it’s worth including keywords in your header tags.
This does not mean you should shoehorn keywords in at all costs. Be judicious, not spammy.
4. Optimize For Featured Snippets
Sadly, header tags are an afterthought for many marketers (here’s hoping this article changes that!). But they can make a sizable impact on your chances of scoring a coveted featured snippet.
5. Only Use One H1
Let’s dispel a common SEO myth.
Google has said there is no problem with using multiple H1s.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s an SEO best practice to use multiple H1s on a page.
H1s are big, and they look like titles to readers. Use multiple H1s on your page, and it starts to look a little out of control.
6. Keep Your Header Tags Consistent
In marketing and in design, your goal is to maintain a consistent experience for users.
When a site achieves that down to the finest detail, it’s impressive.
Aim to impress with consistent header tags on your site.
If you choose to use title case format, stick with that across all your pages (and vice versa if you choose sentence case).
7. Make Your Header Tags Interesting
This rule applies to all your copywriting, not just the headers.
Your initial draft may have bland headers that you use to create your outline.
That’s okay, but you should always review and revise your headers prior to publishing to make them compelling for your visitors.
Yes, your header tags make an article scannable. But ideally, they don’t scan the whole way through.
Intriguing header tags encourage visitors to take a beat and read for a while.
Stay Ahead With Header Tags
Write your headers well, and you’ll not only make your content more scannable, you’ll intrigue visitors to keep reading.
Plus, optimized header tags can help you win featured snippets and make it easier for search engines to understand your page.
Be an SEO all-star. Get strategic with your header tags. Your site deserves it!
Source: Amelia Willson, Dec 27, 2021