H1 tags are a useful way of signposting content and making articles more readable. But how much do H1 tags affect SEO?
Here, we explain what H1 is, its appropriate usage, and how to use H1 for SEO.
What is H1?
The H1 tag is generally the biggest, most important tag on a page. Just like headings in books, H1s are used to introduce a page’s content and give an idea of the topic being discussed.
When should I use H1?
If there’s a logical reason to have multiple sections on a page, there’s a reason to use multiple H1s. The intent of the H1 tag is that it be used to signal headers or headings, so make sure that you use it for this purpose only. It’s important that you don’t overuse it, as even when CSS is used to make H1 content look like regular text, if a user turns off CSS your site will look pretty unappealing, likely increasing bounce rates.
Nevertheless, you can have H1 multiple times on a page. H1 is a useful way of improving user experience as you’re highlighting and condensing important content for the visitor to take in. Whilst you should therefore use it more sparingly and only where it makes sense, you need not always restrict yourself to one or two H1 tags per page.
How can I use H1 for SEO?
H1 can be used for SEO purposes by including primary keywords in H1 tags and secondary keywords in H2. Both the placement of relevant keywords at the top of content and the positioning of desired information below makes the H1 tag highly useful. If you had created a page with a ‘How to knit a scarf’ H1 tag, this would tell Google that the page is about how to knit a scarf, therefore increasing the likelihood of it ranking for this search query.
However, that doesn’t mean you should cram keywords into H1 tags without actual context. Fit keywords into tags which actually make sense and will help a user better navigate a page. A good way of formatting H1 tags is pose a question in H1 (as done on this page) and then answer this query in the proceeding copy.
Equally, H1 tags quickly let users who have come across your page quickly establish if content is relevant to them. Clear, H1 statements make a page more navigable for visitors, and in this way H1 can improve user experience which in turn helps to improve your rankings in search engine results.
In the past people abused the H1 feature to try and help their ranking for more terms, so Google algorithms now takes that into account when ranking pages. H1 will therefore only help your site ranking if used appropriately and in such a way that tells both search engines and readers what the content of a page is about.