Header tags are an essential component of any website’s design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
They help to structure the content on a page, making it easier for both users and search engines to understand the hierarchy of information.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of header tags, best practices for using them, and how to optimize header tags for SEO.
what are header tags
Header tags are HTML tags, that are used to identify headings and subheadings on a webpage.
The arrow indicates the H1 heading. While the headings below are H2s.
Heading tags are not the same as title tags.
Title tags are used to specify the title of a webpage and appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline.
Header tags, on the other hand, are used to structure the content on a page. While both are important for SEO, they serve different purposes.
They are typically identified by the H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 tags, with H1 being the most important and H6 being the least important.
Heading tags not only help to organize content, but they also provide semantic meaning to search engines, which can help to improve the relevance and visibility of a page.
HTML provides six header tags that you can use to organize your content.
How To Use Header Tags
- H1 tags are normally used for the title or main heading.
- H2 tags are subheaders.
- H3 tags are subsections within the H2 tags.
- H4 tags are subsections within the H3 tags.
- H5 and H6 tags are not used as much, but they are used to provide additional information.
The importance of header tags for SEO cannot be overstated.
They help to structure the content on a page, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index the page.
This, in turn, can lead to improved rankings and visibility in search results.
Additionally, heading tags can help to improve the user experience by making it easier for users to scan and understand the content on a page.
header tags best practices
So, what are some best practices for using headings for SEO?
Here are a few tips:
1. Header tags should be used to structure content
Use H1 tags for main headings, H2 tags for subheadings, and so on.
This will make it easier for both users and search engines to understand the hierarchy of information on a page.
2. Use H1 tags for the main heading
The H1 tag should be used for the main heading on a page and should accurately describe the content of the page.
It should only be used once per page or section and is considered the most important heading on the page.
It’s also a good idea to include your target keywords in the H1 tag.
3. Use H2 tags for subheadings
H2 tags should be used for subheadings that support the main heading.
They should also include relevant keywords to help search engines understand the content of the page.
4. H3 tags are used for subheadings within H2 tags
If you need to include subheadings within your H2 tags, use H3 tags for these subheadings.
This helps to maintain a logical hierarchy and makes it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your content.
5. Use header tags to improve readability
Header tags can help to break up long blocks of text and make your content more readable.
Use header tags to introduce new sections of content and make it easier for users to scan and understand the content on the page.
6. Use structured data
Structured data can help search engines understand the content on a page and improve the chances of being featured in a rich snippet.
7. Keep them short and concise
Try to keep headings and subheadings short and to the point. Long headings can be overwhelming and difficult to scan.
Remember, the purpose of the headers is to break up large chunks of text into smaller, easier-to-scan blocks.
The shorter they are, the better search engines like Google, understand your content.
8. Use keywords
Incorporate relevant keywords into your headings and subheadings, but be careful not to overdo it.
However, not every one of your headers should include your keywords. Only add them where relevant.
Keyword stuffing can hurt your SEO.
9. Don’t use too many header tags
Overusing header tags can be confusing for both users and search engines. Stick to one H1 tag per page, and use other header tags sparingly.
Here are some examples of how to use header tags in the right order:
- <H1>10 Best SEO Tips for Beginners
- <H2>Tip 1: Conduct Keyword Research</H2>
- <H3>Using Keyword Planner</H3>
- <H3>Targeting Long-Tail Keywords</H3>
- <H2>Tip 2: Optimize Your Titles and Meta Descriptions</H2>
In the example above, the H1 tag is used for the main heading, with H2 tags used for each of the tips.
Within each tip, H3 tags are used to introduce subheadings, providing a clear and logical hierarchy for the content.
This helps search engines understand the structure of the page and can improve its visibility in search results.
10. Use sentence case for headings and titles
According to Google:
“Use descriptive headings and titles because they help a reader navigate their browser and the page.
It’s easier to jump between pages and sections of a page if the headings and titles are unique.”
11. Avoid using -ing verb forms as the first word in your header tags
Google states that
“An -ing verb form is a present participle or gerund.
These verb forms are inconsistently translated when they’re used as the first word in a title, and they increase the character count in limited spaces.
Example: ‘Transferring data sets’ should not be used. ‘Transfer data sets’ is a better alternative.
Sometimes, there might not be a better alternative to using a gerund, such as the following examples:
It’s OK to use a gerund in these cases.”
12. Use header tags consistently
Make sure to use header tags consistently throughout your site, so that search engines can understand the structure of your content across different pages.
How to add header tags in HTML
To add header tags in HTML, you simply need to use the appropriate header tag element and include the text you want to be contained within the tag.
To use heading tags, simply wrap your text in the opening and closing tags like this:
The forward slash is what differentiates the opening tag from the closing tag.
Using header tags correctly can have a significant impact on your website’s SEO.
By following best practices for using headings and optimizing them for search engines, you can improve your website’s visibility and help users find the information they’re looking for more easily.
HTML tags are scanned by Google so the web browsers know what your content is about, so it’s important to use them in the correct order and hierarchy to maintain a logical structure of the page.