Benefits of the H1 Tag in SEO
How Much Does the H1 Contribute to Get Better Rankings?
by Dr. William Sen
The use of large headers at the top of a page is prevalent in website design and development, but web developers who come across to such a task, assume that the large header is the page’s title or worst — even not use it in the first place.
In fact, the perfect example and reference is this article. This article has a heading as H1 – “Benefits of the H1 Tag in SEO”. In the SEO business, our major concern is what Google knows and can detect. If Google cannot tell the heading separately from other parts of the article, and it cannot determine the topic of your page correctly, thus you won’t be displayed on the search engine result pages (SERP).
Google does have several machineries in place, and is advancing incredibly smartly especially in the areas of detecting content and interpreting it. However, it is not a brilliant move to assume that Google would perfectly decipher the content on your website’s page because the title has larger font sizes or because of its strategic position at the top of the page. Google doesn’t care about all that. All what Google care about is, is that title or header of yours has been coded as H1.
If you dwell on Google’s smart ability, then you may be saddened by the results it will yield. Google combs billions of pages daily so it is not too bothered about your website. Since your site is not the only available on the internet, you to make make your site’s crawlability easier for Google.
For this, Google has provided guidelines for SEOs and Web Developers to make its work easier. Therefore, the onus is on you to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you do not follow these guidelines, Google’s work and ranking on your page may encounter several bottlenecks. The SEO business demands playing by Google’s books and for anyone who cannot play by these rules, no results will be shown on the SERP — “play by the rule or be tanked” is Google’s secret message to all web developers in the world.
The Title Tag
The web design space is one that demands a great deal of creativity. Therefore, web designers are naturally averse to following a restricted pattern in web development. It is unlike other media such as newspapers or books where rules are established. “If it’s on the top, it’s a title” or “if it’s big, it must be important” does not apply in web design and in SEO.
There are several design elements used in web design to make a website standout. And there are no rules inhibiting web designers from flexing their creative strengths. The challenge here however lies with Google and that is why the creativity of the website does not really count in regards to SEO.
Google takes note of the limitless depth of web design creativity and this is why it does not automatically detect the heading in your web content — no matter how well designed it is. The point is you have to tell Google what your title and what your heading of your page is through the HTML code.
When Google is aware of your page’s title, it will include it in the parameters, and considers to rank your page and website. Google will demand for you to do the work according to the guidelines it has set for all users.
You have to see Google a machine: SEOs must ensure that the content on any website is machine readable. This is the main reason Google has continued to churn out Webmaster Guidelines to SEOs.
Tagging the heading for your content as H1 in your website’s markup makes it easily readable by Google is mandatory in SEO.
Only few SEOs, but lots of web developers pay little attention to it because of a lack of SEO knowledge. A website should not only look pleasant from a user’s perspective. It is important for the website to be in consonance with Google’s expectations. In the end, a website and business wants to be found in the internet.
Using The H1 Tag Correctly
Use only one H1 that resemblances the content of your website the best. Use the right keywords on your H1 — I talked about using the right keywords this on this article: How to Choose the Best Keywords in SEO.
Things To Avoid When Using The H1 Tag
The first thing to avoid is the use of multiple H1 tags. Many website designers and SEOs are guilty of using more than one H1 tag. In fact, the practice is rife and noticeable in many articles, where the H1 tag is used at every section or with the section headers containing H1 tags.
If your page has more than one H1 tag, Google will have a difficult time to pick the right one, or it may completely ignore your H1 tags overall. There are millions of websites, with billions of pages on the same space as yours, with similar content too — so your readiness and seriousness comes to the fore when you set your website according to Google’s expected guidelines.
H2 and H3 Tags
Other sections of the articles or content on your page can carry H2 or H3 tags. In fact, they can increase numerically as you choose, and can be used multiple times. This is clearly readable by Google and presents your page in good light.
For this article, a peep into the source code will show you that the H1 tag has been used just once. Take a look here:
<h1>Benefits of the H1 Tag in SEO</h1>
The H2 tag was used once:
<h2>How Much Does the H1 Contribute to Get Better Rankings?</h2>
The H3 tag was however used in four different points:
<h3>The Title Tag</h3>
<h3>Using The H1 Tag Correctly</h3>
<h3>Things To Avoid When Using The H1 Tag</h3>
<h3>H2 and H3 Tags</h3>
If you choose to use H4 tags to indicate chapters after the H3 tag, then that is equally permissible. Google will know from the numbering of the tag that the H3 tags are of more importance than the H4 tag.
SEO is nothing more than machine-to-human communication, whereas the human is an SEO, and Google is the machine.
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