We all know what SEO is and how it works for websites. We also know what is a heading.
But, did you know that SEO and Heading tags can overlap? So, how exactly are they related?
In this guide, we’ll understand:
What are heading tags?
Heading tags from <h1> to <h6> are block elements offering structure or outline to the website content. They follow a top-down hierarchy with the <h1> as the most important element and <h6> as the least. These tags are not the same as the <head> HTML tag or HTTP <headers> and their font sizes vary on different browsers.
Michael Heijamns, writer for Yoast, “Heading tags, as the name implies, are tags that are used for the creations of headings.”
What is Header in HTML?
<header> is an element in HTML, which specifies introductory content or a set of links for navigation. It can contain heading elements from <h1> to <h6>, logo, search form or an icon. There can be several such elements in a single document.
To ascertain whether a website has heading tags or not, conduct a heading tag audit.
How To Do Heading Tag Audit?
A Heading Tag Audit is a report containing a list of all the web page URLs with their respective heading tags. With an audit, you’ll be able to ascertain whether or not your website uses H1 Tags and other headings.
How To Conduct Heading Tag Audit Manually?
Step 1: Open any browser and visit the URL of the page
Step 2: Go to View>Source to view source code in new window (Ctrl+U)
Step 3: Click ‘edit’ (Ctrl + F) and ‘find.’
Step 4: Type <h1 in search bar and click ‘find next’
Step 5: View highlighted sections of the site with the H1 tag
Step 6: Repeat the steps for <h2> to <h6>
Now that you know how to manually conduct the audit, let’s find out how you can do it using various tools.
4 Free and Easy-To-Use Tools for Heading Tag Audit
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
SEO Review Tools
Tool 1: How to Do H1 Tag Audit with Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Step 1: Download and install Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Step 2: Type in the URL in the tool and click Start
Step 3: Click h1 in menu bar to view <h1>
Step 4: Click filter and select missing to locate pages with missing <h1>
Step 5: Create the list of missing <h1> and click Export
Step 6: Create a Filter for H1 Tag Issues
- Look for issues in the H1 Tags by using filters on the lines of:
- Missing – Pages with missing H1.
- Duplicate – Pages with duplicate H1.
- Over 70 characters – Pages with H1 over 70 characters in length.
- Multiple – Pages with multiple H1.
Step 7: Fix Pages Missing H1 Tags
Add H1 heading for the pages that lack H1 tags. Make it a point to create a concise and descriptive heading.
Step 8: Remove Multiple H1 Tags
When a page has multiple H1 tags, keep the first tag intact and change the rest to H2 tags.
Step 9: Change H1 Tags That Duplicate Page Title
Have the same H1 tag and the page title tag? Change any one of them so that they are easily distinguishable.
Tool 2: How to conduct H1 Tag audit with SEO SiteCheckup
Step 1: Go to SEO SiteCheckup
Step 2: Copy and paste your website’s URL in the given space
Step 3: Get an instant report, which you can download as a PDF or send as an email
Tool 3: How to Conduct H1 Tag Audit with SEO Review Tools
Step 1: Enter website
Step 2: Enter captcha
Tool 4: How to Conduct H1 Tag Audit with Yakaferci
Step 1: Type yakaferci.io in browser and press enter.
Step 2: Copy and paste the URL of your website.
Step 2: View the results
What Are the Benefits of Heading Tag Audit?
Improves a website’s SEO
Makes website navigation easy
Provides better user-experience
Identifies heading structure
Offers a suitable hierarchy
Understands number of headings to be used
Includes keywords research info
Formats the content which support the headers
Why Heading Tags Are Important?
Heading tags increase traffic on a blog or a website and boost engagement. A search engine may use them to determine the quality and relevancy of a web page. <h1> to <h6> elements double up as the success factors for a website’s SEO. Without these tags, the content appears as massive blocks of text.
According to Moz “While headings are not a primary factor when influencing rankings, the quality of your website is.” Moreover, as per Moz’s survey of Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015, “page-level keyword usage features still have a very strong influence.”
Importance of heading tags in SEO
About 80% of the first-page search results that appear on Google use an H1.
Brian Dean from Quick Sprout demonstrated the use of tags for maximizing the SEO value as well as the user experience of the content.
The number of pages using h1 tags has increased compared to 2014.
Searchmetrics’ 2015 Ranking Factors reported that two in every five webpages in SERPs didn’t utilize h1 tags at all.
How to Use Heading Tag?
H1 is the most important tag, which is generally the title of a post. The other tags follow soon after in a top-down hierarchy to create a well-defined document or page outline. There can be at the most one H1 tag on a page and around two H2 tags followed by other tags.
Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the most important heading tag of them all?
Marc Purtell aptly explains the importance of H1 tag in SEJ ,“In order to have some great, Hummingbird-optimized h1 tags, try to understand what a user may be asking when they are searching for a keyword the page is targeting and format that question on the page with h1 tags.”
How Many Times To Use H1 tags?
This is arguably one of the main questions asked by novices. Industry experts have the answers ready:
In a response to a question about how many H1 tags can be used on a single page, John Mueller went on record to say “as many as you want.” Whereas the former head of the web spam team at Google Matt Cutts elaborated that the H1 tag needs more weight and using too many of it on the same page, makes it lost importance and ruin the experience.
Twitter John Mueller Embed Link:
As many as you want.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) 12 April 2017
What is The Structure of a Heading Tag?
The structure of a heading tag reflects the outline of a web page with a top-down hierarchy of <h1> to <h6> tags, used in different ways to improve the user-experience. The rule of thumb according to experts is to ‘use them in the right order, at the right place and in the right frequency’.
Say for instance, if you want to create a hierarchical structure for the schema markup post for your blog, the heading tags may appear like this:
< !DOCTYPE html>
<h1>How to add schema markup to your blog</h1>
<h2<Want to add structured data markup to your site</h2>
<h3>Understand how to use schema markup on your website</h3>
<h4>Tips on using schema markup</h4>
<h6>About the author</h6>
H1 How to add schema markup to your blog – Semibold 22px
H2 Want to add structured data markup to your site – Semibold 20px
H3 Understand how to use schema markup on your website – Semibold 18px
H4 Tips on using schema markup – Semibold 16px
H5 Summary – Semibold 14px
H6 About the author – Semibold 12px
How To Write Heading Tags For SEO?
Rule #1: Each web page needs a unique set of heading tags.
Rule #2: Write them like an outline with main title, sub titles, sub-points and so on and so forth.
Rule #3: Use Shift+Enter for line breaks or more lines of text.
Rule #4: Remove empty spaces otherwise, it will generate a blank <H1> tag.
It’s no Herculean feat to write great heading tags and anyone with the basics clear can do a great job with the tags. Here are some basic points to optimize them:
How to Optimize H1 Tag
The H1 tag introduces or describes the content of the page or name of the topic. It can also represent the name of the page.
Use it to styles, lays emphasis for each section
Use it as a title to a blog post or an article
Make sure it ranges between 20-70 characters
Make it stand out with:
- A short title or heading
- A full sentence
- A handful of words matching the title of the page
- Keywords relevant to the web page’s content
Note: Ideally, use only one H1 tag per page as the top-level heading. For stand-alone documents, the same tag will function as the title.
How to Optimize H2 and H3 Tags
Use several H2 and H3 tags as sub headings
H2 will be the subheading of H1 and H3 will be the subheading of H2 tag respectively
The H2 tag is used the most among all the heading tags
Use the H2 tag to represent detailed information or to denote the sections in the page
Use no more than 3 H2 tags to keep the page succinct
The H3 tag can be used for lists with bullet points
How to Optimize H4-H6 Tags
Use H4 tags in a sidebar or as bullet points
The H5 and H6 can be used depending upon the necessity and the size of the web page
Heading Tags Dos and Don’ts
|Use sparingly||Go overboard with text|
|Check for relevancy||Axe unnecessary words|
|Aim for clarity||Make it too long or too short|
|Use them as only as a styling tool||Stuff keywords|
|Make them look natural||Use them for design|
|Maintain the hierarchy||Use them to replace the and tags|
Heading tags make the blog or website a relevant source of information. They also make the content well organized by highlighting the important sections and establishing connections between them. Search engines may consider these factors to rank the page(s) higher in the search results and this is why it is important for on-page SEO.
How to Use Heading Tags on Your Blog or Website?
Heading tags have different goals and therefore, each and every post will contain a new heading structure apart from the blog’s homepage or the category archives. This translates to lower bounce rates and increased retention. Google takes both these behavioral factors into account for ranking.
Headings Structure for homepage
|Heading Elements||Heading Ideas|
|H1||Name of the website|
|H2||Tagline or Catchphrase of the website or the most recent posts/content|
|H3||The recent posts (if not using already used in the H2) or older posts|
|H4||For any related content in the sidebar|
|H5||For any unrelated headings in the sidebar or footer area|
Heading Structure for single posts
|Heading Elements||Heading Ideas|
|H1||The title of the post or the standalone page|
|H2/H3||Subheadings and sub-subheadings|
|H4||The post/blog name and the related widgets|
|H5||Similar to the H4 and sidebars|
Headings Structure for category / tag
|Heading Elements||Heading Ideas|
|H1||The category/tag title|
|H2||Title for the posts|
|H3||Name of the blog|
|H4-H6||Same rule as that of the homepage|
Examples of websites & blogs use Heading tags?
Practice 1: H1 to H6.
Practice 2: Unique H1, many H2.
Practice 3: Unique H1 and one of each – H2-H4.
What not to do – Hop, Skip and Jump between tags at random. Follow the sequence and never break it.
Example: Backlinko Post
Example: MarketingCloud Post
We hope that you found this resource handy for getting your heading tags right. For more such resources, keep a tab on this space.