Header Tags and Search Engine Optimisation

Jul 19 09:26 2013 Ian Curtis Print This Article

Header Tags, as you may guess are used to differentiate the subject matter on a specific webpage and allow you to structure your page in an orderly manner. These headers are known as HTML header tags, heading tags and search engine optimisation (SEO) header tags. The most important header tag is the H1 tag and the least important is the H6.

The hierarchy of the header tags should be observed; this means that if you skip any of the headings the structure will be broken,Guest Posting and this will affect the webpages on-page SEO.

Below I have listed the header tag hierarchy:

  • Heading  1
  • Heading  2
  • Heading  3
  • Heading  4
  • Heading  5
  • Heading  6

An example of a broken structure would be if a H1 tag was used at the top of the page and then the next header tag used was a H3. This would render the header structure unfriendly to search engines.

A good example of SEO friendly header tags would be similar to the structure below:

  • Main Heading
  • Secondary Heading  1
  • Sub Section Heading of the Secondary Heading 1
  • Secondary Heading 2
  • Sub Section of the Secondary Heading 2

As mentioned above, the h1 tag is the most important tag. Every page must have one h1 tag only.

Header tags represent the different sections of the content on a webpage and impacts both the SEO and usability of your website.

Header tags from a search engine optimisation perspective:

  • Relevancy: Search engines are getting very clever at checking the relevancy of the header tags used on a webpage with the copy associated with it.
  • Consistency of Keywords: Search engine are able to gauge the keyword consistency of the content on the webpage and the headers.
  • H1 Importance: The H1 tag should never be omitted on a webpage. Engines pay special attention to the words used in the main header and it should contain a basic description of the content whilst also containing a designated keyword that you are targeting for that specific page.
  • Improved Usability: Header tags give a visitor to your website a very clear idea of what the page content is about. User experience has a very big impact on the sites rankings, meaning a structure header hierarchy becomes an important factor in SEO.

Header Tags from a usability perspective:

  • Visitors to your website that require a screen reader will benefit from pages that are simply structured with clear header tags in place.
  • A well written H1 header will quickly give users a concise overview of the webpage content.
  • Well-structured header tags will allow a visitor to quickly scan the content and find what they are looking for with the minimum of fuss. 
  • Header tags are used primarily for search engine optimisation and not for the use of large, prominent typefaces; pages look cleaner and easier to read with the use of headers.

Header Tag No No’s:

  • Whilst you should try and include a keyword in your headers, do not overdo it, search engines will penalise your webpage with a drop in rankings.
  • Do not use more than one H1 tag per page. Pages should only have one main heading and by using two the engines will come to the conclusion that you’re are keyword stuffing. It is much better to divide content into two different topics and designate separate pages to them with their own H1’s. This would aid usability and help search engines to determine the subject of your content more easily.
  • Do not use headers as hidden text, this is deemed very bad practice and will result in a loss of rankings, especially if the tags include SEO keywords.
  • Do not repeat the same headers on different pages of the same website. It is much better to have unique headings throughout the website.
  • Make sure that the H1 on your webpage is different to the meta title tag. 
  • Do not use headers for text formatting; they should be used for organised and structured page content. Cascading style sheets (CSS) should be used for formatting purposes.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis

HROC are a public relations and digital agency. We have an in-house search engine optimisation team that would be very happy to audit your website and advise on SEO best practices that would help get your website found in all major search engines.

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