A Basic Guide to Using Header Tags for SEO

2019/02/11 08:00

heading tags

Why header tags make a difference to your SEO efforts and how to use them.

Of the many SEO trends that have come and gone over the years, header tags are one trend that has stood the test of time.

Search engines are more focused on content quality and user experience than ever before and since header tags can enhance your content, they’re also good for SEO.

Headers instantly make your content more readable, while also providing search engines with the information they need to index your content.  Most online users will only skim content but headers are one way to make them pause and spend more time on your site.

Header Vs. Title Tags: Understand the Difference

Some people tend to confuse header and title tags and assume they are the same thing, but they’re not.

If you had to view the HTML of a site, a page title would be enclosed in a title tag <title>. However, this page title will only appear in search results once the page has been indexed. Title tags are used to draw searchers to your website.

Header tags, on the other hand, can be seen on the front end of your site and are used to break your content up into paragraphs using headings and sub-headings. In HTML, these headers are enclosed in a header tag <H1> and can range from H1 to H6, with H6 being the smallest header size. H1 headers are seen as the most important, while H6 headers are the least important.

H1 headers are mostly used for the title of a page or post, highlighting the most important content. Content management systems such as WordPress make it very easy to add different headers to your copy without having to touch the HTML of your site.

The Benefits of Using Header Tags

Header tags certainly make your content look good but when used correctly, they can also benefit your SEO efforts.

When a search engine such as Google crawls your website, it scans your content for keywords. Headers that are wrapped in tags make it easier for search engines to identify your primary keywords and understand what your page is all about right from the start.

Along with helping your visitors scan your content, header tags give search engine bots a better idea of how various blocks of content are related to each other. The keywords that you use in your headers are what Google will use to index the pages of your site.  

Header tags are not crucial to SEO success but they definitely make a difference and are worth integrating into your SEO strategy.

Header Tag Best Practices

Here are a few ways that you can make header tags work for you.

  1. One H1 tag is enough. Aim to only use one H1 tag per post or page as this will emphasize the importance of your primary keywords.
  2. Describe the topic of your page. Use your H1 tag to describe the topic of your page or post, giving readers a clear idea of what they can expect.
  3. Incorporate a long-tail keyword. Search has become far more specific, especially with the rise of voice search, making long-tail keywords all the more important.
  4. Don’t go beyond H3 tags. Unless your page is very text-heavy, it’s safe to stick to one H1 header and H2 and H3 headers for the rest of the post.
  5. Make your H1 header stand out. Your H1 header is important, so make it big and noticeable.
  6. Use tags in numerical order. To avoid confusing visitors and search engines, don’t jump between different header tags – always use them in numerical order.
  7. Include keywords in other tags too. H2 tags are also seen as important to make a point of using strong keywords in these headers too. An exact keyword match is not necessary though.
  8. Watch your word count. You don’t want to try and squeeze an entire paragraph in between your header tags, use it for title purpose only.
  9. Don’t forget about CSS. It’s important to use header tags correctly if you want them to be effective. If you are only looking to style certain elements, rather use CSS.

Discover how header tags can enhance your SEO efforts and encourage visitors to spend more time on your site by integrating them into your strategy today!