How Important Are H1 Tags For SEO?
6th November 2020
It is well known that H1s have always been a major factor in SEO ranking, and their importance has never lost significance. But aside from improving ranking, H1 tags also give more structure to a page so that both users and search engines can see the clear description of a page’s content, making your site more accessible and effective.
In this article, we take a look at what the purpose of a H1 tag is, why they are important, and what you can do to ensure that your H1s are enabling you to get your content ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
What is a H1 Tag?
Before we get into how important H1 tags are, let’s first cover what they are.
A simple explanation of a H1 is that it’s a HTML tag that indicates a heading on a website and is usually the first header visible on a page.
HTML has six different heading tags; h1, h2, and so on, so each page can have multiple headings. The h1 is considered the most important tag, and the h6 is the least important.
What is the Purpose of a H1 Tag?
The H1 tag is important for SEO, accessibility and usability, so ideally, you should have one on each page of your site.
A H1 tag should describe what the content of the given page is all about. Usually, the H1 tag will be the title of your blog post or article and it should give the reader a strong sense of what they are going to read.
Why Are H1s Important?
There are a number of reasons why H1 tags are important in terms of content display and SEO. Here are the two key reasons:
1. They Improve Usability and Accessibility
In terms of page display and searchability, having a clear and relevant H1 allows the screen to be read with ease and ensures that when a user lands on a page, the content is suitable. A good page heading should describe the content of the page in just a few words, so one of the most important reasons to use H1s properly is for usability purposes.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engines use spiders to crawl web pages and index websites and these pay most attention to the content wrapped in H1 tags. For this reason, placing keywords into your H1 is important in order to try and help your search engine position.
There is a positive correlation between higher rankings and use of headings on a page - this of course is in reference to the use of a H1 tag, but also H2s, H3s and so on. This is because headers make your content easier for people to understand and digest; they are essential to a quality user experience and in turn, your SEO ranking.
Key Things To Remember When Creating A H1 Tag
If you look too deeply into what makes an appropriate H1, some of the web development jargon can be overwhelming. Therefore, here is a compact list of key points to consider the next time you create a H1 for a web page.
1. Only Use One H1 Tag
Why should you only use one H1 per page? Put simply, the presence of more than one H1 could dilute the SEO power of a single H1.
Search engines would crawl multiple H1s on a page if there were many of them but focusing your SEO efforts on one keyword phrase or sentence, as opposed to many, and using this in your H1, will have a more significant ranking effect.
2. Make Your H1 Stand Out and Describe the Topic of Your Page
H1s are a good indicator of what the most important text on a page is. As they are usually the most visually notable content on the page, a good H1 can ensure clarity for the reader.
It’s important to remember that SEO can often be about user optimisation as well as optimisation for search.
3. H1s Should Provide a Good User Experience
Furthering the above point, how relevant the page is to the searcher’s query and therefore how they interact with your page ultimately determines whether and where it is listed in the search engine results page.
The key is to answer user intent. It’s not even about having a H1 tag, it’s more about the text that’s actually in that H1 tag. If your title, and therefore H1, does not accurately match the page content, then they will likely not have a good experience on your page because they were expecting to read something else.
4. Try to Use a Long-Tail Keyword in Your H1 Tag
If you use a strong keyword in your H1, then Google can find out what your page is about with ease and index it appropriately. So, in order to improve your chances of ranking higher, using a concise longtail keyword will play to your advantage.
To give a clear example of what I am referring to, a one-word keyword would be ‘shoes’, a short-tail keyword would be ‘running shoes’ and a long-tail keyword would be ‘running shoes for men size 10’.
You may think that using a more specific, longer phrase may not be as effective as more commonly searched for, shorter keywords. However, focusing on long-tail keywords can be a great SEO tactic because they get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific. A great way to find these types of phrases is looking at suggested Google searches on the results page or using platforms such as Moz, SEMrush or Answerthepublic to find out what people are searching for relating to the topic of your page.
5. Make Sure Every Page Has a H1 Tag
Lastly, each page on your site should have a H1, and they should only appear once at the top of the page. Furthermore, all of your web pages should have unique page headings because each page should contain unique content.
Why is My Page Not Ranking on Google?
There is no sure-fire way to guarantee a position one, or even page one rank or masses of page views by having a strong H1 tag. But by auditing existing pages to ensure that you are doing the most to make your H1s strong and keeping the above factors in mind for any new pages, you are automatically improving the likelihood of having an SEO-friendly website and reaching your SEO goals.
If you would like help with improving your website’s SEO, we're here to help - contact SilverDisc today.