Headings should be added to pages to give their content a hierarchical structure. This helps give search engines and users a better understanding of what each page contains.
Similar to writing an outline for a large paper, put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately.
Set H1 headings
Each page should have a descriptive H1 heading to help search engines and users understand what that page contains. Headings can be added to web pages to give structure to the content in the same way headings are used in books and articles. The most important and highest ranking heading in HTML is called the H1 heading. This is followed down in level of importance by H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 headings. The H1 heading is like the title heading of an article and similarly should give an accurate and concise description of the entire document to help guide readers. The keywords used in page headings are also treated as a ranking signal by search engines. H1 headings are added to the HTML of a page with an
<h1> tag such as
Use one H1 heading per page
Try to use only one H1 heading on each page to clearly indicate to users and search engines what the topic of the page is. Multiple H1 headings make it difficult for readers to know which heading is suppose to be the one that gives a top-level description of the whole document. Using a single H1 heading leaves no room for confusion. Bing and Mozilla both recommend to only use a single H1 heading per page to help convey document structure. Mozilla specifically mention to ignore HTML5’s proposed “outline algorithm” which allows for multiple H1 headings per page because the outline algorithm hasn’t been widely adopted by browsers or screen readers. We note however that Google only go as far as recommending you use headings in a way that appropriately describes the hierarchical structure of your content. Fix the potential confusion caused with having multiple
<h1> tags on a page by first chosing one heading to be your main one. You should then recorganise your other headings using
<h6> subheadings to give an accurate headings hierarchy to your document.
Use optimal length H1 headings
Each page should have an H1 heading that isn’t excessively long to make it easier for users and search engines to understand the topic of the page. Google specifically recommends avoiding overly long headings so readers can scan your content more easily. Excessively long headings can also be an indication that paragraph text has been unhelpfully tagged as a heading. We recommend making H1 headings no longer than 70 characters.
Use unique H1 headings
Each page should have an H1 heading that is unique between all other pages on the site to avoid duplicate content issues. Each indexable page on a site should have unique content and each indexable page should have an H1 heading that accurately describes the topic of that page. This means each indexable page should have an H1 heading that is unique to that page. Duplicate H1 headings can indicate duplicate content issues and as H1 headings can influence search rankings duplicate headings are a lost opportunity to signal the topic of your pages to search engines. If the same H1 heading is being shared between pages, you can usually resolve this issue by changing each heading to more accurately describe the page the heading is attached to.
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➜ This article is from our comprehensive SEO Best Practices guide.
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