On site SEO is crucial for better search engine ranking of every post. It is important to know the proper use of H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 SEO header tags to maximize SEO benefits. These HTML header tags help in better readability both for the readers as well as for the search engine bots.
Even though the SEO importance of header tags decreases from H1 to H6, one needs to be careful in using them to structure a post beautifully.
What You Will Learn
- What are Heading Tags?
- Importance of Header Tags in SEO
- How to Use Heading Tags for SEO?
- When to Use Heading Tags?
What Are Heading Tags?
Heading tags are HTML tags that are used for creating headings and sub-headings in a post. They are for making any text large and bold. The H1 tag has the biggest size while H6 has the smallest.
These tags dictate the headings of the paragraphs in a web document and make it easy to read and focus. Furthermore, different header tags set the importance of paragraphs. For example, a paragraph having H2 tag heading will have more significance in an article than the ones with H6 tags.
Importance of Header Tags in SEO
Every factor that influences user readability is important from SEO perspective. Search engines want to provide its user the best quality post links against the query searched.
Since header tags determine how well the structure of a web document is, it plays an important role in ranking. As a matter of fact, it is the second most important on page SEO factor after keyword density.
According to Search Engine Journal, the combination of primary keyword and H1 SEO tag is highly useful in outshining similar articles on SERPs as it helps search engine crawlers to understand and rank the post better.
How to Use Heading Tags for SEO?
According to Neil Patel, 80% of the posts on the first page of Google use H1 tag. Furthermore, an H1 tag should be of 20-70 characters. It is what you write in your heading tags is the most important SEO aspect.
The content in your heading and sub-headings has the potential to rank your article on the first page of the search engine result pages.
H1 tag should always contain the focus keyword. It can also have a long tail keyword containing the focus keyword within it.
You can spread your primary, secondary and long-tail keywords throughout the sub-headings without keyword stuffing practices. But what serves the best for a better rank is when you write the exact query with which your targeted audiences are likely to search your article.
For example, you are writing an article on the ‘10 best practices in SEO’. Instead of having your H1 tag as ‘Best practices in SEO’, if you write ‘What are the best practices in SEO?’ it can do wonders.
The reason behind this is that the users are likely to make a search with a question. Therefore, make an assumption of the queries with which people are searching on the search engines and make your heading and sub-headings accordingly for best outcomes.
When to Use Heading Tags?
If your post is short, you should never use h3 tag to h6 tag. Settle with one H1 and multiple H2 tags. Only for a long post where word count is over 1000 words, you can go for h1, h2, h3 tags and likewise as it fits.
H1 HTML tag’s content should be the website that describes the post in short. Every user notices the H1 element text first on the website, and they should know what to expect from the article.
Even the website header must have an H1 tag if there is any textual part. Search engine optimization in Google is heavily dependent of the H1 tag. It is best to use one H1 heading tag in an article.
Use of multiple H1 tags SEO will make the search engine crawlers interpret that you are over-optimizing your page for better ranking rather than making your article user-friendly.
H2 element tags are mainly for sub-headings. You can have multiple H2 tags containing different types of keywords without keyword stuffing. It helps in better categorization of the content to denote different sections and readers are unlikely to get bored.
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However, I would suggest using H2 tag once and H3 tags more frequently for sub headings. Use H4 tag to H6 tag more for styling as such having bullet points under sub-headings. Sometimes, h4 to h6 tags are used to highlight one-liners.
You should maintain a top-down hierarchy approach where you should use H1 tag first, and then H2 followed by H3, H4, H5, and H6.
If there is a need of one heading and two sub-headings in an article, use H1 for heading and H2 for sub-headings instead of using H3 to H6 because it breaks the consistency of the hierarchy from h1 to h6 tags.
This also implies the fact that use of h5 and h6 tags are very rare as most of the requirements will be fulfilled by the h4 tag.
You should never stuff heading tags with keywords. Never use heading tags as hidden text else your website will face Google penalty. Do not have the same content for heading and sub-heading.
Do not use header tags for styling only but for organizing and structuring your post. One heading must not have more than 300 words for better header tag optimization.
Other than header tags, some other important HTML tags for SEO are title tag, meta tag, anchor tag, image alt tag, and canonical link tag.