HTML header tags and how they impact SEO

HTML header tags and how they impact SEO

If you’ve been working on improving your website’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), among the many strategies you’ll be familiarising yourself with is HTML header tags. But what are HTML header tags and how do they impact SEO?

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to everything you need to know to get started.

What is a header tag?

Header tags – sometimes referred to as heading tags – provide a very functional and logical purpose for websites. They create the structure by which content can be navigated by a visitor to your website and ensure that the hierarchy of information within your website is clearly set out. The HTML elements that denote the various headings and subheadings of your website – i.e., the structural elements of your content – is referred to as header tags.

How many heading tags are there?

There are actually different types of header tags – referred to within the industry as H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 respectively. Optimised for SEO, each page of your website will likely have at least H1 – H3 header tags.

As its name suggests, H1 is the most important and impactful of the tags, with H2 onwards serving as respective subheadings for the rest of the content. H1 and H2 header tags are the most essential ones to prioritise.

H1 tags should ideally only be used once per web page.

According to Google themselves, using multiple H1 tags isn’t actually an issue. However, in our experience, we’ve noticed that there is increased traffic leading to more conversions when we update clients’ messy content and webpages and use a single H1. We’ve found that the more structured and reserved use of H1s, the better the results! Make of that what you will.

H2 header tags can be used multiple times on any page to break the content into logical, digestible sections.

Once these two have been used to form the foundation, the rest of the tags can help you further break down your content – especially for long pages with extensive amounts of copy. It’s best to avoid overusing the lowest level header tags, i.e., H4 to H6 unless necessary.

Why are header tags important?

Search engines, including Google, use algorithms to trawl through the internet and rank websites according to their relevance and quality for specific web searches.

These algorithms use header tags, like a human reader, to understand the structure and, therefore, the content of the webpage. The clearer and more concise the header tags, the easier and more likely it will be for the search engine to digest them and then suggest your website.

On the flip side, websites without header tags or with nonsensical and badly applied tags will signal to the algorithms that the content is either (a) irrelevant or (b) relevant but difficult to read. It will then be ranked lower in the search engine results.

When you prioritise descriptive header tags, you help search engines categorise and promote your content algorithmically.

Why is the H1 Tag Important in SEO?

For this reason, the H1 tag plays a critical role in SEO. A clear and concise H1 header reflects instantly what the content of your webpage is about.

If it is relevant for a particular search term (called a keyword), the search engine is more likely to rank it highly.

Your H1 is the first part of your website that both readers and algorithms will come across – so it needs to be considered and effective.

Without the right H1 header tag, it’s difficult to make your content stand out from the rest. And by the rest, we mean the rest of the internet!

What are the best practices for using headings for SEO

If you’re working on rewriting and restructuring the content on your website, you’re probably wondering about the best strategies for using header tags to maximise SEO.

Here are our key pointers for effective use of this SEO technique.

1. Keep it clear and concise

It can be tempting to throw in too many words into your headings in an effort to include the keyword and other related search terms.

But don’t. Prioritise clear and concise language in your header tags. Not only does this mean your readers will more easily understand your content, it will more accurately reflect your webpage’s content for the search engines’ algorithms to pick up.

Remember, while appealing to search engines is always sought after, the main goal is always creating easy-to-read content for your website visitors.

2. Make your H1 tags clear

As we explained above, the H1 header tags are important. Their placement and prominence are less important than their substance. In most cases, the top of the page is the logical place for an H1 tag, as it allows search engines to quickly ascertain the topic and content of the rest of the page.

However, depending on your website’s design, it may not appear at the top. You can make it visually distinct by using larger text, different fonts, or colours.

3. Break down your content using H2 header tags

The rest of your content should be organised and broken into tight paragraphs, each one with an H2 header tag.

These tags should be clear. But they should also be descriptive. At a glance, it should be obvious to anyone skimming through just the H1 and H2 headings what your webpage will be talking about.

4. Maintain the hierarchy of headers

You’ll likely be using not just H1 and H2 tags but H3 and possibly even more for long content. Keep the structure logical and consistent. As mentioned, we recommend using H1 once. Then, use H2 for subheadings. For subheadings within subheadings, use H3, and so on.

This helps your readers and targeted search engines understand the structure of the content and intuit the level of importance you have ascribed to each piece of copy within the content as a whole.

Use target keywords… but use them naturally

Keywords are essential in good SEO. They point you in the right direction by making sure the content you put on your webpage reflects the searches that your target audience are engaging in.

Using target keywords in your header tags is critical for just that reason.

Don’t be tempted to stuff your headers with keywords unnaturally! The search engines are too smart for that and it will read strangely to website visitors. Incorporate the target keywords naturally in a way that actually enhances the content.

Want to leave the header tagging to the experts? We’re here to help!

Knowing how to use HTML header tags and how they impact SEO is important in this ever-increasingly competitive digital world. With the right header tags, you can ensure your website ranks as highly as possible on Google, Bing and more.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone! The team here at GO Creative are dedicated to ensuring our client’s websites work for their business and not the other way around.

Let us do what we do best and service your website with the right SEO plan so you can focus on growing your business. Why not book an SEO audit and see how your website fairs in the search engine results?

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