Q: I have recently created a website and want to know how to use H Tag HTML elements properly. Also, I want to know if they help in Google rankings? Please explain.
A: There’s no exact proof if header tags contribute to an increase in Google rankings. There are several pages that work well without the header tags. But, I recommend using them and especially the H1-H2 tags.
The Proper Use of H Tag- Heading Elements:
Heading elements H1 through H6 denote section headings but their order & occurrence is not constrained. It is not necessary that you use all the six elements to structure the page. One thing I would recommend is that you use only one H1 element on the page, as preferred by Google as well.
The semantic representation:
I am sharing an example to show the order in which Header tags should be used:
<h1> Earth <h1>
<h2> US </h2>
<h3> California <h3>
<h4> Los Angeles <h4>
<h5> The Valley </h5>
<h6> Glendale </h6>
While <H1> should preferably be used only once, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 elements can be used any number of times. However, a typical web designer may find this a bit cumbersome.
There are a few definitive ways to implement these elements, I would suggest that you keep your pages specific to one topic and use:
<h1> – One element
<h2> – As many elements as required to denote sections on the page. If you want to keep the page concise, you should only need one or two or three at max
<h3> – Keep the header for text content and not to group the template navigation
It has been argued that major search engines pay more attention to <H1>, so I recommend including your best or say the primary keyword in it.
Now, let’s discuss how you should properly use H tags on your website to improve SEO. Follow the tips below:
Follow the H Tag Hierarchy
Many bloggers use H tags in the wrong order. The tags are arranged in order from H1 to H6. You should follow this order when using H tags for blog SEO purposes, otherwise, your readers and search engine bots will get confused.
Use H tags in the following ways:
- H1 for a blog title
- H2 for your main subheading
- H3 for sub-sub-headings and so on
Add Many H Tags to Your Content
Unfortunately, most of the readers will not read every word of your nicely written blog. They tend to scan your blog posts looking at the headings.
Readers initially scan your blogs to understand if it’s worth reading. Then, they will scan your blog to find the sub-sections they have the most interest in.
Scannability is extremely important. Forbes explains it as “the most overlooked factor of content marketing.” According to research, an article that’s easy to scan is 124% more likely to perform well with readers.
If you add more H tags to your blog post, it gets more scannable. When you post more scannable blogs, readers are more likely to find the information they look for, stay on your website, and share that on social media platforms.
Use H1 for Title
As H tags are hierarchical, you must always use an H1 tag for the blog post title. If your blog post title doesn’t have an H1 tag, you will have to get in touch with your theme designer to get this issue fixed. You can also change your blog theme if your theme designer can’t fix this issue easily.
Add Only One H1 Tag in a Blog Post
You should use only one H1 tag per blog post or web page. When Google and other search engines crawl your website, they tend to look for the H1 tag. Then, the search engines use it to identify the topic of your blog post and its relevance to search queries.
You must use H1 for the title of all blog posts. As any blog will have only one title, you should use only one H1 tag for it. If you use more than an H1 tag for your blog posts, search engines get wrong messages and confusion, which can adversely affect your SEO performance.
Add the Most Relevant Keywords to Your H Tags
As almost all search engines use H tags to interpret your website content, it can always prove to be beneficial to strategically use keywords in all headings. If you do so, you can rank high on SERPs for those keywords.
Make sure at least one subheading in all your blog posts contains a focus keyword, i.e., the keyword phrase you want to rank the most for. The other headings of your content should contain relevant and secondary keywords.
But beware of stuffing the headings of your blog posts with keywords. When it comes to ranking high on SERPs, keyword stuffing will never deliver the desired SEO performance.
You should write subheadings first and foremost for your readers. Keep their interests in mind and then modify your subheadings accordingly adding the most relevant keywords.
Add Only Brief H Tags to Your Blogs
Both search engines and readers should be able to easily and quickly scan content. Thus, you should never make H tags too long and keep them short. Your H tags should never look like a full sentence or paragraph.
Always write brief and clear H tags to leave a maximum effect on the target customers.
Use H Tags Only for Headings But Not for Anything Else
Many bloggers tend to make a common mistake,i.e., use H tags for things besides hearings and subheadings. For instance, writers quite often use H tags to write the first paragraph, a CTA, or a quote that makes your content unique. You should not use H tags for these purposes.
Add H tags exclusively for headings and subheadings. Use other styling components, such as color, italics, bold, and backgrounds, so your other content segments stand out.
Maintain Clarity in Your H Tags
Bloggers tend to make the mistake of using cryptic subheadings in blog posts. Remember, the objective of subheadings is to help search engines and readers easily and quickly interpret your content. They can immediately find the content on which they have maximum interest.
Cryptic headings will never help you to improve your SEO performance. Use the cryptic headings for email marketing subject lines. Add clear, easily understandable, and keyword-rich subheadings to your blog posts.
Optimize H Tags for Featured Snippets
The right use of H tags always helps you win featured snippets. To increase your chances of winning featured snippets, you can do certain things. The first thing you can do is add the keyword of the featured snippet you target into the correct H tag.
If you target a ” paragraph” snippet, you will then simply reply to the query in a paragraph directly under the heading. In case you target a “list” snippet, you will again use one of your H tags for the target query. Then, you will use the next level of H to tag other list items. For instance, you may add H2 for the target query and H3 for the list items.
The Bottom Line
As SEO has turned out to be an integral element in the online business world, you need to focus on it the most to grow your brand. Using the right H tags to your blog posts, and other types of content is a great strategy to rank high on SERPs and boost your overall SEO performance.
Hopefully, you have understood by now how you should use H tags on your website to improve SEO performance. So what are you waiting for? Use H Tags properly from now onwards to your content for better SEO performance.
Tip: Google has a penchant for snappy and short headings. Moreover, it will be better if the h1 tag is different from the page title. Some SEOs say that Google can use your header tags as title tags, in case you have no separate title.
Remember to keep the header tags relevant to the content on the page so that it doesn’t look odd to the visitors and also the crawlers don’t find it to be spammy.