HTML Header Tags
And How To Use Them For SEO
On a website’s page there are a total of 7 HTML header tags that can be used:
- The TITLE tag
- The H1 tag
- and H6
Let’s take them individually and see what they can do for us in the SEO arena.
The TITLE tag
Quite possibly, one of the most abused ‘tags’ as there just seem to be so darned many ways of describing the same thing; possible variants are:
- SEO title,
- meta title,
- page title
They are important in 3 ways: One, they describe to both the user and to the search engines what your post and/or page is about. Two, They are the blue links that show up on the search engine results pages thus you have to ake them as eye-catching to the reader as possible so they click on them. Three, they are also used in your social media posts and thus, again, need to be attractive and engaging to the casual visitor.
How To Use Them For SEO
As search engine crawler ‘bots ‘read’ your content from left-to-right, like us humans, you are going want to put the keywords you want to rank for as close to the left as possible . Doing this allows the ‘boys to understand what your content is about and thus it gives you a better chance of ranking your content higher for those keywords.
According to various online authorities, if you are a bricks and mortar buisness with an online presence then it’s SEO best practice to have 3 distinct entries in your title:
- The keyword you are wanting to rank for
- Your business name
- Your location
So, if you’re a mechanic in Dallas who specializes in mending Cadillac back axles, your page title would look like this:
Cadillac Back Axle Repairs | CaBAR Inc. | Dallas
Don’t duplicate your title tags. Having the same title for each of your pages is only going to lead to confusion for both your readers and the search engines. In fact, you will find that your pages won’t rank at all because the ‘bots don’t know what your pages are about.
Using title tags in blog posts is a little different from the page layout suggested above. For a blog post it’s suggested that adding numbers to blog posts is a good way to arouse the curiosity of your readers.
The title tag is the most important tag in your SEO arsenal. To get the best bang for your buck:
- Ensure your keyword/s are the first words ‘seen’ by readers and ‘bots
- On website pages include location and business name
- Avoid title tag duplication as this affects search engine ranking
- Add numbers to blog post titles to ‘collect’ eyeballs
The H1 Tag
Although the H1 to H6 tags don’t have any immediate, technical effect on search engine optimization, they do give the content reader a better appreciation of how your content is laid out. In fact, you could say that H1 tags are the most important ‘tag’ that you have to write.
There are 6 targets you need to hit when you’re creating your H1 tag in order to reach the maximum number of readers:
- Use only one H1 tag per piece of content. The H1 tag contains that keyword that you want to rank for, thus having more than one H1 tags on a page/post will only dilute the power of the 1st H1 tag
- The h1 tag should describe the content below it
- Ensure your h1 stands out. Make it big, make it noticeable and make it strong
- Keep your users / readers in mind. Ensure your h1 teases them into reading the rest of your content.
- Use long-tailed keywords: Although these are searched for less, those that use them are further along in the buying cycle.
- Think about your users’ intent: Answer the question that your visitors are asking.
The H2 – H6 Tags
Although these tags, we are told, have decreasing amount of importance the smaller they get, they still have their parts to play.
My own recommendations – not based on fact but intuition would be to use them in this manner:
H2 tag – As a sub-heading beneath your H1 tag. This gives you the chance to introduce another set of keywords with out appearing to be ‘stuffing’ your content for ranking purposes
H3 Tag – Use as a sub-heading for each ‘unit’ in your content. For example, in this post I have used the H3 tag for my sub-headings (The Title Tag, The H1 Tag, The H2 – H6 Tags etc.)
H4 Tag – I would use this tag to highlight company or product names within my content – although this could equally be done using text effects such as italics, underlining or making them bold.
H5 and H6 Tags – To be honest, I wouldn’t use these at all, I have not come across a reason to use these over using the text effects described above.
The Wrap Up
In terms of Search Engine Optimization, the most powerful HTML header tags to use are: The TITLE tag, the H1 tag, The H2 tag and the H3 tag with the Title and the H1 tags being the most important. Tags H4 – H6 can be replaced by text effects in most cases.
The TITLE tag has 4 recommendations:
- Put your keywords first
- For businesses ensure business name and location are in the tag
- Don’t duplicate TITLE tags
- Numbers in blog post titles are intriguing
The H1 tag has 6 targets to git to make it sing:
- One H1 tag per piece of content.
- The h1 tag should describe the content below it
- Ensure it stands out.
- Keep your users / readers in mind.
- Think about your users’ intentions
I think that covers the somewhat under-explored world of HTML Header tags and how to use them for search engine optimization. I’d love to hear any variations on my ideas above, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below