What are Header Tags?
HTML header tags are used to indicate the headings (h1) and sub-headings (h2-h6) of a page from the rest of the content. These tags are also known as heading tags or header tags.SCOOSH
The most important heading tag is the h1 tag and the least important is the h6 tag.
The heading tags from h1 to h6 form a top-down hierarchy.
If you skip any of the tag numbers the heading structure will be broken, which is not recommended for SEO.
For example, if your site is introduced with an h1 tag followed by an h3 tag, the hierarchy will be broken, meaning the heading structure is not as SEO-friendly.
A good rule of thumb is that every page on your website should have an h1 tag but not more than one.
Why use header tags?
Google likes them.
We use H tags to understand the structure of the text on a page better.john mueller, Google
Header tags make the web page more readable for people
Using header tags correctly helps make the web page more readable for people and also for search engines.
In many ways, they are analogous to using a bullet list in a Word documents or using headings at appropriate points in a newspaper article.
They expand on this thinking as headings are labelled H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 or H6 this structure helps the search engine understand what is more important (H1) to what is less important (H6) – and so have a better understanding of what the author of the web page intended.
This then improves the SEO of the specific page and increases the likelihood that users searching for information in Google will find the page.
Header Tags make the content more relevant
When Google (or other search engines) are crawling your website to determine whether to index your content (or not) it uses a variety of what are non as ranking factors.
Google sees the text used within the HTML header tags as more valuable, or a higher priority, than the rest of the text on a page.
Therefore, words used in the header tags are weighted more highly when Google is trying to figure out if a page is relevant to a user’s query.
A web page’s h1 tag is one of the most important places to use a keyword.
Scannable content performs better
The newspaper industry has long been aware that people scan and don’t read the whole page. They are looking for something that piques their interest. This can then lead to more in-depth reading.
Understanding how your website audience scans content can greatly improve your use of header tags and the success of your web page.
Header tags make scanning easier.Scoosh
Tips for using Header Tags correctly
- H1 tags should appear at the top of your web page.
- Use words people would use when searching for what your content is about. (e.g.
Used Audi for Sale)
- When targeting a question, put the question in the h1 tag.
- When writing a how-to guide, put each step in an h2 tag.
- Your web page should be conversational. You are not writing literature or a technical manual (Unless, of course, you are!) Adopting this approach will help you break your content up into natural, short sentences and paragraphs. This lends itself to the use of header tags for these paragraphs.
Avoid these Header Tag mistakes
As with any aspect of SEO, there are highly recommended approaches but there are also things to avoid. (They may be tempting but will come back and bite you)
- Avoid stuffing your heading tags with keywords.
Keyword stuffing of any kind should be avoided on your website.
- Do not use more than one h1 tag on a page.
Usually, pages will have a single h1 heading and including two might make search engines think that this is an attempt to include more keywords for SEO in multiple h1 tags.
- Do not use heading tags as hidden text.
Any hidden text can result in penalties for your site, especially if the hidden part is a component that affects SEO.
- Avoid repeating heading tags on different pages of your site.
It is a good practice to have unique heading tags throughout your site. Avoid using identical content for both your page’s h1 tag and meta title tag.
- Do not use heading tags for styling text but use them for presenting organised and structured content on pages.
Use CSS stylesheets for the purpose of styling.
In our car website reports, you can see the breakdown of how the top 100 car dealers have used header tags on their website. You will see examples of good practice and also where improvement can be made. Viewing how others have set up header tags will help you understand good practice.
If you have any questions about your website and how to use header tags properly (or any aspect of your website – please get in touch.
We can also send a report on your website’s use of the header tag with recommendations for improvements.