H1 Tags and Search Engine Optimization

H1 (or header) tags are used to indicate the heading or title of an article or page online.  They should offer the reader insight into what a page is about, but they do more than that for your SEO strategy.  

When you see a page or a post, you often see several different sizes of headers, that’s because there are 4 header styles to choose from (h1, h2, h3, h4).  All of these are important to the user experience and impact your SEO.  Today we’re going to tell you why your h1 is the most important. 

What is an H1 Tag? 

The h1 tag is the first thing your reader will notice about your page in most cases.  When it’s used, it offers a different size and/or style of text to ensure it’s impactful and stands out from the rest of the tags and content on the page. 

You will often see other headers throughout the page, those generally represent the points that are made to enforce the reason behind the page and support the h1 tag.  So, if h1 is your page’s title, the h2 will be the main points, and h3 and h4 will be used as sub-points headers.

It’s important to note that there is also a title tag and that’s different from the h1.  Your title tag is what the user sees on the search engine result pages (SERPs), it’s the bolded heading in your snippet, and not seen on your actual page.  That said, your title tag and h1 tag may be the exact same in wording, but the code behind them differs.  The title tag is also important for SEO because it tells the search engines what your page is about.

Why do Search Engines Care About H1 Tags?

Because webpages use crawlers (also called spiders) and not actual humans to “read” the pages found on the internet there needs to be specific code that tells them how to understand each page.  The code is essentially a signal that provides the crawlers intel.  

The H tags are HTML code and when the spiders crawl the page they can read that data and it tells them about the content of the page, providing insight into what your page is about.  This is important because if the crawlers don’t understand your page, they won’t know when to push you on the SERPs.

Helping the crawlers helps your SEO.

User experience is also great for SEO.  When pages are easy to navigate and read, the user likes it, which means the search engines like it.    

How to Best Optimize Your H1 Tag

Now that you have an understanding of what the h1 tag is and its importance to SEO, let’s talk about how you can make it a good one:

  • As stated above, the title tag and h1 tag should be the same or close to the same, Google likes it
  • You should always use your main keywords in your h1 tag and throughout your headers (don’t stuff)
  • Make your headline descriptive, but as short as you can, under 65 characters
  • We mentioned being sure you use the h1, h2, h3, h4 throughout your page, but when doing this, be sure you do it correctly (don’t use the same style throughout the page, keep it in order of importance), your h1 tag is only used once- for the heading
  • Your h1 tag is there to provide information to the user, so be sure whatever you create matches what your users are looking for and provide what they’re expecting in the body

The Takeaway

H1 tags are an easy way to help your on-page SEO strategy.  By following a few simple steps, you have the power to further your SERPs ranking and give your audience readable content that supports your SEO efforts through a better user experience.

If you have any questions or comments about creating better webpages that will improve your position on Google, feel free to call us and let’s get you more traffic, more business, and a great SEO campaign.