Like just about anything else in business, SEO goes through cycles of change. But one thing has not changed over the years. It is the belief that an H1 tag will boost a website’s SEO. Is that statement a fact or fiction? Do H1 tags improve SEO? Or, is the claim partly true under some conditions?
To answer the question, I will talk about how H1 and header tags can boost your search engine rankings and make the the people who visit your website feel more satisfied. I’ll also tell you how to check your website for its current H1 tags and how other heading tags may benefit your SEO. Finally, I’ll give you a few other SEO suggestions that can assist beginners in optimizing their sites for the search engines.
To begin, I will introduce heading tags and tell you how search engines use H1 tags.
Why Do Heading Tags Exist?
Long before websites were invented, heading text was used in printed materials such as books, newspapers and magazines to introduce a subject or divide long paragraphs of writing. This heading text had unique characteristics, including a larger or different font and emphasis to help the reader understand it was different from the body text. A good example of heading tag is a magazine’s headline.
But in the 1990s, when websites started appearing, html heading tags were adopted to perform the same function. Heading tags(H1 to H6) can be easily customized to look the way you want. However, they usually make text larger, bolder and attractive to read. They always appear before lengthy chunks of copy.
This page has a number of html headings tags. For example, “How H1 Tags Help Your Site’s SEO?” at the top of this page is an H1 tag. The text you’re about to read is an H2. On other pages of my website, I use H3 and H4 tags to introduce other topics or sub-topics.
The Purpose of the H1 Tag
The H1 tag is usually the biggest and most significant tag on a specific website page. It can be used in three ways: introduce the overall topic of the page, identify the specific subject of the page, or communicate the page’s name.
H1 tags are used differently on various websites. Some sites have lengthy H1 tags, which are basically complete sentences. Other sites use short phrases for their H1 tags, which summarize the title of the page. To obtain SEO benefits, an H1 tag should have keywords that are very relevant to the page’s content, and they should be very detailed as well.
Let’s look at a few examples. If your page content is about RC Car Supplies, the best way to write an H1 tag might be in the following way: “RC Car Supplies,” “Where to Buy RC Car Supplies,” or “All About RC Car Supplies and Where to Buy Them.” By placing keywords in H1 tags, they can be a great tool for a website that is attempting to improve its ranking and beat the competition.
But you should only include relevant keywords in your H1 tags. If the keywords don’t accurately tell a visitor what the topic of the page is, they will immediately leave the page because they may feel deceived.
What’s the Best Way to Use H1 Tags?
You are more than likely using H1 tags on your site but may not be aware of it. Websites that use content management systems (CMS) will have H1 tags created automatically and included on your website as a result of what content you have put in the admin screens.
Here’s what to do to find H1 tags on your website:
- Start your Internet browser and open a webpage.
- Press CTRL + U to open a tab that displays HTML code.
- Depress CTRL + F at the same time. Type
<h1>. Is any text highlighted? If so, this where your page’s H1 tags are.
- Write down what your H1 tags are when you find them. If there are none, trying looking for
<h3>tags. If you find any, write down what they are.
Any missing H1 tag will need to be added. If you don’t know how to add an H1 tag, go to the admin screen of your CMS system and there should be a help menu with instructions. Beyond that, you can also search for assistance on the Internet. Here’s how to search for help on the Internet if you use WordPress. Type in “How to add H1 tag in WordPress”.
You’ll have to manually add h1 tags to your page’s HTML code if you aren’t using a content management system. It’s not hard to do. Just follow these steps. First, go to the webpage for which you want to add an H1 tag. Then open up a code editor such as Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac). These tools are capable of editing and saving HTML. Next, find the place where you want to add the H1 tag. It should be inside the
<body> tag and come before the
<p> tags, text content, and images on the page.
Then add a line of HTML code like the following:
<h1>This is My Heading 1</h1>
It’s that simple! Now, save the HTML file and upload again . Then you will need to hit refresh and you should see the H1 tag. If you’re new to HTML coding, this all may sound difficult when you do it the first time. But after you’ve done it a couple of times, it will come naturally.
How Are H1 Tags Used For Seo?
It may have occurred to you (or you read about it somewhere) that Google probably believes that H1 tags have a lot of value in determining how to rank websites. This isn’t particularly because H1 tags are so much more siginficant than some of the other SEO factors — the truth is that some recent tests indicate otherwise.
H1 tags are so strong for SEO because they combine significant keywords with information users want to see at the top of the page.
Try analyzing the above statement for a moment. Let’s consider the RC Car example we discussed previously. So, we built a page with an H1 tag that said the following: “Where to Buy RC Car Parts”. This headline at the top of the page indicated to Google that the page is telling users where to purchase RC Car parts. As a result, this increases the probability that it will be ranked for this query.
But this headline promises to your visitors that when they go to this page looking for places to find RC Car parts, they will find them on this page. Your website can benefit by this type of specific headline because it can decrease bounce rates, improve your SEO, and get the site ranked higher. From this point of view, H1 tags have a lot of value since they respond to both the needs of your readers and how search engines use them.
Basically, you’ll improve your website ranking by making sure you have H1 tags on your webpages. While H1 tags are not the most important SEO factor, they do help your SEO because they signal to not only the search engines but also your site’s users the type of the content on your webpages.
Follow these tips for optimizing your H1 tags for both Google and your visitors:
- You should have an H1 tag on all your web pages. Webpages that don’t have an introduction can puzzle their visitors and make them doubt that they are on the correct page. Web pages without H1 tags are similar to newspaper stories that don’t have a headline.
- H1 Tags should be unique. Duplicate content even if it’s a minor headline, is not a good idea.
- Use specific, detailed keywords. “About” or “About Us” isn’t very interesting — instead try something such as “About Our RC Car Repair Shop”?
- Avoid keyword-stuffing— in other words, don’t pack keywords into your H1 tags so they don’t make sense to a reader. While the phrase “RC Car Repair Parts Supplies Shop Radio controlled Cars” can get you improved ranking, the phrase doesn’t make sense and will likely confuse people so they are likely to navigate away from the page. If your bounce rates increases, expect your rankings to fall.
- Avoid Large-sized H1 Tags. H1 Tags should not fill up the page. If they do, find the style.css file on your server. You can modify it in order to reduce the font size. Find H1 in the file and decrease the font-size value until it looks appropriate.
- Use your imagination! H1 tags don’t necessarily need to be full sentences or brief phrases. You can write them as questions or complete statements.
By using the tips on writing H1 Tags discussed in the article, you should not only improve your SEO and get better ranking, but also make your visitors happy with what your website has to offer.
Can I Have Multiple H1 Tags on a Single Page?
Yes and no. While you can insert more than one H1 tag, it won’t help your SEO. The purpose of the H1 tag is to function like a magazine article’s headline so it should be the largest and most prominent content on your pages. Using more than one H1 tag on a page defeats the purpose of the tag and can confuse readers. Plus, it won’t improve your ranking. Just use one H1 tag per page!
You should use H2, H3, H4, etc. tags instead H1 tags if you feel the need to insert more headers or sub-heads. These tags are smaller in size. But they are good for introducing other sections of content in the page’s body. Take a look at this page. I’m using H2 tags to divide each section of the page, and each section begins with a question (look below).
How Significant Are H2, H3, and H4 Tags for SEO?
They are. But H2, H3 and H4 tags aren’t as powerful as the H1 tag. Heading tags are widely used for SEO, but these tags provide other useful functions that go beyond increasing SEO ranking, such as, a way to get questions answered, a technique for introducing new topics, and a guide to assist users in navigating your website.
Most of the tips I have given above for the best practices of creating H1 tags can be used for the other heading tags you use on your website. But make sure you do not keyword stuff! Your headers should be specific, detailed and give the reader useful information. If you follow this best practice, your website visitors will like them. Of course, user satisfaction will improve your performance in search rankings. Finally, it’s good to remember that H1 tags benefit your SEO because they make your pages user-friendly.
As you make progress toward understanding SEO data, you’ll learn that most of SEO relies on the actions your site’s users take. Since H1 tags help your users, you can see how important they are to your success. When you look at the big picture of what you do to make your site successful, something as little as header tags can have a major effect on your site’s overall search ranking performance.
Other Actions You Can Take to Improve Your SEO
H1 tags aren’t the only way to improve your site’s SEO. The following list contains some easy ideas you can use on your website:
- Create original and unique title tags for all your pages. These tags should be worded differently than your H1 tags. They should not have the same keywords. By being unique, they offer you a greater likelihood of getting ranking for different terms.
- Assign alternate text for your webpage images. Some people forget to do this, but alt text gives you the chance of adding significant keywords to your pages.
- Get your pages to load faster. Visitors don’t want to wait for pages to load. If they are too slow to load, your visitors may leave your site before they are loaded.
Do You Still Need Help with Your Site’s SEO?
Do you still need some assistance to improve your website’s ranking on search results? If you need help or lack the time to do it your self, I can help you improve your site’s SEO. I am a leading SEO specialist based in Toronto. I have developed a lot of expertise in this area, having helped more that 100 clients improve their SEO to obtain online success. I provide free evaluations so contact me today. I really want to show you how I can help you achieve your business objectives!