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What Is A Header Tag and How To Use Header Tags SEO Best Practices?

What Is A Header Tag?

Header tags are pieces of HTML code that tell a browser how to format a piece of text on a website.

If we looked up the HTML for the heading above, it would look something like this:

<h2>What is a Header Tag?</h2>

Like headings in printed content, header tags are used to name or introduce the content below them. From h1> to h6>, HTML header tags have a certain order.

  • H1 tags are used to highlight the most important text, like a content’s main idea or title.
  • Most of the time, H2 and H3 tags are used as subheadings.
  • Lastly, the H4, H5, and H6 tags can be used to add more structure to the sections they are in.

Both users and search engines can benefit from header tags. They give your users a sneak peek at the content they are about to read.

They help search engines like Google understand what your page is about and put it in order. Header tags are like the names of the chapters in a book. If you quickly look through them, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what they’re about.

Header tags are important for SEO because they help Google understand what your page is about. They also make your page easier for people to use by making your content easier to read and find.

Now, let’s talk about the best ways to do things.

What Is A Header Tag

1. Use Header Tags to Give Structure

Your header tags give your article structure and background. Each heading should tell the reader what they can learn from the paragraph text that comes after it.

The table of contents of a non-fiction book is a good way to think about header tags:

  • Your H1 tells people what your page is about, just like a book’s title tells people what the book is about.
  • The H2s are like chapters in a book; they describe the main topics you’ll talk about in different parts of the article.
  • The next headers, H3 to H6, serve as more subheadings within each section, just like a book chapter can have more than one subtopic.

When you write a blog post or landing page, think about the main points you want people to take away from it.

Those are the tags for your headers. Make your outline with their help.

2. Use Subheadings to Break Up Large Blocks of Text.

Articles that are easy to scan are also easier to read, and articles that are easy to read are more likely to do well in search engines.

Google likes to reward content that is easy for people to use. By definition, content that is easy to read is more user-friendly than content that is hard to read.

When an article is easy to read in a few seconds, people might stay on the site and read it instead of going back to Google. Plus, they’ll be more likely to tell their friends about it.

Even though social signals don’t directly affect rankings, the more an article is shared, the more likely it is to get backlinks, which do affect rankings.

3. Include Keywords In Your Header Tags

Mueller told us that Google looks at your header tags to figure out what your page is about. As with anything else Google looks at, this means it’s a good idea to put keywords in your header tags.

This doesn’t mean you should force keywords into your writing no matter what. Be smart, not annoying. You may have noticed that a lot of the keywords in this article’s header tags.

In fact, “keywords” is part of the H2 heading for this section. But I really mean “header tags” when I say “keyword.”

That’s one of the keywords I’m aiming for with this article, so I put it in a lot of the H2s. I didn’t put it in every H2, though, because readers can get bored with that kind of repetition.

First and foremost, your page should be easy to read. If the keywords fit naturally, you can include them as well.

Always put the user’s needs first. Then, make it work best for Google.

4. Optimize For Featured Snippets

Many marketers don’t give header tags much thought, but hopefully this article will change that.

But they can change your chances of getting a featured snippet in a big way.

This is how.

Featured Snippets from the Paragraph

Got your eye on a featured snippet of text from a paragraph?

Optimize your header tag so that it matches a long-tail keyword for voice search. Then, answer the question right below it by putting your answer between p> paragraph tags.

5. Only Use One H1

Let’s put an SEO myth to rest. Google has said that using more than one H1 is fine. But that doesn’t mean that using more than one H1 on a page is a good SEO practice.

So what?

H1s are big, and readers see them as titles. When you use more than one H1 on a page, it starts to look a little out of hand. Want to make sure that your site doesn’t have more than one H1?

Use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your domain. If you switch to the H1 tab, you can see at a glance which pages are missing H1s or have more than one H1. Then, click the drop-down menu next to Filter to export the ones you want to fix.

For H2s, you can get the same report. Huzzah!

6. Make Sure Your Header Tags Stay the Same.

In both marketing and design, the goal is to give users the same experience every time. It’s impressive when a site does that right down to the last detail.

Aim to impress with header tags on your site that are always the same.

If you decide to use title case format, do so on all of your pages (and vice versa if you choose sentence case).

Also, make sure that your headings aren’t too long.

You shouldn’t write a paragraph full of keywords for Google in a header tag. Instead, think of it as a short title for the text that comes next.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the length of your headers and title tags about the same (70 characters or less).

The more you can tell your site visitors what to expect and consistently meet those expectations, the happier (and more engaged) they’ll be.

7. Make Your Header Tags Interesting

This rule applies to all of your copywriting, not just the headers. You might use the simple headers from your first draft to make an outline. That’s fine, but before you publish, you should always review and change your headers to make them more interesting for your visitors.

Yes, header tags help make an article easy to read. But it would be best if they didn’t scan the whole thing. Header tags that are interesting make people stop and read for a while.

Pay close attention to your H1 tag in particular. People see H1s. Your H1 may have a lot to do with whether or not people bother to scroll down the page.

Try your best to write a great H1 tag that answers the user’s question and makes them want to read your article.

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Aaron Rigby
Aaron Rigby
I'm a skilled writer who puts my heart and soul into my work. I've been working as an author at a news degree for the last 2 months. I love to spread my knowledge, which I gain through newspaper magazines and the internet.


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