Heading tags, also known as HTML header tags, head tags, heading tags and SEO Header Tags are used to distinguish or differentiate the headline of a page from its fullest content. The most important heading tag in a page is the h1 tag, while the least important is the h6 tag. However, in accordance with HTML coding, the header tag from h1 through h6 form a hierarchy which should not be broken, when you look at it from on-page SEO viewpoint. In other words, you should not jump from h1 to h5, thus breaking the heading structure, which is against SEO stipulations. Apart from breaking the rule, this will create confusion among the web crawlers and as a result the website’s ranking will be affected badly.
Issues Related to Header Tags (From SEO Point of View)
- Relevancy : Search engine spiders verify the relevancy of header tag with the content related to it.
- Keyword Consistency: Search engine spiders also verify the keyword consistency between the header tag and rest of the page.
- H1 Tag Importance: Since the h1 tag is the most important tag it should always appear in a page. Also, it should contain a brief but essential description of the page content, bearing in mind that the search spiders pay special attention to the words used in this tag.
- Augmented user experience: While header tags provide the user with clear picture of the page content, search engines put plenty of importance to user experience on the site as a whole, thus making the header tag a valuable component of SEO.
Header Tags From Applicability Point of View
- Appropriately structured header tags make it convenient for web users to quickly navigate sections of the content that interest them most.
- H1 Heading tag literally provides a quick overview of the content, thus saving time.
- Even though the primary use of header tags is linked to SEO, the presentation of a web page with well balanced header tags helps in pleasant reading.
Things Not to Be Done With Header Tags
- Refrain from stuffing your heading tag with too many keywords.
- Stay away from using more than one h1 tag unless it is absolutely necessary. Pages normally have a single h1 heading tag but incorporating one more is likely to make search engines consider it as an attempt to put more keywords. It would, however, be preferable to split the content into two separate themes on separate pages with their own h1 tags. Needless to say, this arrangement will prove more sensible both for the viewers and the search engine spiders. But this does not indicate that use of multiple h1 tag is disallowed by Google.
- Abstain from using heading tags as hidden text. Hidden texts often lead to penalties for the site, especially when it becomes a component that affects SEO.
- Do not be a parrot, repeating heading tags in pages of your site. Go for unique, new heading tags.
- Do not use the same content in your page’s h1 tag as in your meta title-tag.
- Also, do not use heading tags for styling text because you are supposed to use them for providing organized and structured content on pages only. You may, however, use CSS Stylesheets for styling, etc.
If you implement appropriate heading structure, it will add to the readability of your web page to a great extent. When people surf the net, they are inclined to skim the info on a web page, looking for things that interest them. Thoughtful heading structure tends to make their job easier and simple.