How to use header tags: SEO best practices


Header tags are still a strong signal for SEO. Google’s John Mueller said it himself:

“[W]when it comes to the text on the page, the title is a really strong signal that tells us that this part of the page is about this topic. ”

Header labels are a a simple but critical part of SEO. Use them wisely and you will satisfy the gods of search engines as well as your users.

Here are seven best practices to follow when making your own.

What is a header tag?

Header tags are HTML tags that tell the browser which style to use to display some of the text on a webpage.

If we looked up the HTML for the title above, it would look something like this:

What is a header tag?

Like titles in printed content, header tags are used to title or insert content below them. HTML header tags follow a hierarchy, from

to

.

  • H1 marks are used to highlight the most important text, such as the main topic or the title of the content.
  • H2 and H3 labels are usually used as subtitles.
  • finally, Labels H4, H5 and H6 it can be used to provide further structure within these subsections.

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Header tags are useful for users and search engines. For your users, they give them an overview of the content they will read.

For search engines like Google, they provide context for what your site is about and provide a hierarchy. Think of heading marks as chapter titles in a book. Give them a quick scan and you’ll have a pretty good idea of ​​what the content covers.

Header tags are important to SEO because they help Google understand your content, but also because they make your site easier for the user – making your content more readable and accessible.

Now, let’s move on to best practices.

1. Use header tags to provide structure

Your header tags provide the structure and context for your article. Each heading should give the reader an idea of ​​the information they can get from the text of the paragraph that follows below.

A useful way to think about title tags is to compare them to non-fiction book content:

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  • Your H1 introduces the topic your page is about, just as the title tells the reader what the book is about.
  • H2s are similar to chapters in books, which describe the main topics you will cover in the sections of the article.
  • Subsequent headings, from H3 to H6, serve as additional subheadings within each section, just as a chapter of a book can be divided into multiple subtopics.

When compiling an article on a blog or landing page, think about the main ideas you want your visitors to come up with.

These are your header tags. Use them to help you write your draft.

2. Separate blocks of text with subtitles

An article that can be scanned is a readable article, and a readable article is one that is more likely to have good results in search engines.

This is because Google likes to reward user-friendly content. Content that is easy to read is, by definition, easier for the user than content that is not.

When an article can be scanned, users can actually stay to read it instead of reading it return to Google. Besides, they are more likely to share it with their friends.

While social signals are not a direct ranking factor, the more the article is shared, the more likely it is to naturally earn backlinks, which are a ranking factor.

3. Include keywords in the header tags

As Mueller told us, Google uses header tags to gather context for your page.

As with everything Google pays attention to, it means it’s worth including keywords in header tags.

This does not mean that you should use keywords at all costs. Be sensible, not unwanted content.

You’ve probably noticed that many of the header tags in this article contain keywords.

In fact, H2 for this section literally includes “keywords!” But the key word I actually mean is “header tags”.

This is one of the targeted keywords for this article, so I have included it in many H2. However, I didn’t include it in every H2, because that kind of repetition can turn readers off.

Your site should be readable first and foremost. If the keywords fit naturally, then you can continue and include them.

Always think of your customer first. Then optimize for Google.

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4. Optimize for highlighted clips

Unfortunately, header tags are an afterthought for many retailers (hopefully this article will change that!).

But they can have a significant impact on your chances of achieving the desired result prominent clip.

Here’s how.

Paragraph Featured Clips

Pay attention to the clip of the highlighted paragraph?

Optimize your header tag to match a long-tailed keyword for voice search. Then answer the query directly below, putting the text inside

paragraph mark.

For example, the Search Engine Journal won this prominent clip for “How do I remove the default browser in Chrome?“, Thanks in part to their keyword-optimized H2:

Screenshot from search for [how to remove default search engine in chrome], Google, October 2021DefaultSnippets
FeatureSnippetsScreenshot from SearchEngineJournal, October 2021FeatureSnippets

List of featured clips

You can also use header tags to outline different items in the list.

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Google may pull from your subtitles to create its own list of enumerations or numbers for the highlighted snippet.

Here is an example.

Search [how to relieve migraine fast] and Google creates a response list using H2s from this WebMD article.

Feature SnippetsScreenshot from search for [how to relieve migraine fast], Google, October 2021Feature Snippets
FeatureSnippetsScreenshot from WebMD, October 2021FeatureSnippets

5. Use only one H1

Let’s break up as usual SEO with.

Google said it existed no problem using more H1.

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However, this does not mean that SEO is a best practice to use more H1 on a page.

Why not?

The X1s are big and look like headlines to readers. Use more H1 on your page and it starts to look a little out of control.

Want to make sure there are no multiple H1s lingering on your site?

Launch your domain with an indexing tool like Screaming Frog.

Switch to the H1 card to see at a glance if you have pages that are completely missing H1 or have more H1.

Then click the Filter drop-down menu to export the ones you want to fix.

Screaming Frog H1sScreenshot from Screaming Frog, October 2021Screaming Frog H1s

The same report is available for H2s. Huzzah!

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6. Make your header tags consistent

In marketing and design, your goal is to maintain a consistent customer experience.

When a site achieves this down to the smallest detail, it’s impressive.

Try to impress with consistent header tags on your site.

If you choose to use uppercase and lowercase format, stick to it on all pages (and vice versa if you choose uppercase and lowercase).

Also, keep the titles on the shorter side.

The header tag is not a place to write a keyword-rich paragraph for Google.

Instead, treat it as a mini-title for the next part of the text.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your headers approximately the same length as the title tags (70 characters or less).

The more you can set expectations for your site visitors and consistently meet them, the happier (and more engaged) they will be.

7. Make your header tags interesting

This rule applies to all your texts, not just headers.

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Your initial draft may have blunt headers that you use to create your outline.

That’s fine, but you should always review and revise your headers before posting to make it appealing to your visitors.

Yes, your header tags allow you to scan an article. But ideally, they don’t scan all the way.

Intriguing header tags encourage visitors to take a break and read.

Give special importance to yours H1 day especially. Users notice H1s.

To a large extent, your H1 can dictate whether visitors even bother to scroll down the page.

Do your best to write one great H1 tag that matches your intent to search for users and that will excite them by reading your article.

Be ahead with header marks

Write headers well and not only will you make your content easier to scan, but you will intrigue visitors to keep reading.

In addition, optimized header tags can help you win highlighted snippets and make it easier for search engines to understand your page.

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Be SEO all star. Be strategic with header tags. Your site deserves it!


Featured image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournal

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