HTML Header Tags , or heading tags, as their name suggests, differentiate the types of headings and subheadings in a blog post. Some people call them head tags or SEO header tags.
H1 through h6 tags designate a top down hierarchy of importance in html.
The h1 tag is the most important tag. Every page should have a single h1 tag reserved for the title of the article, page or product. H2 through h6 are then used for decreasingly significant titles. We do not break the chain or skip levels of the hierarchy as we write to maintain on-page SEO. For example, if your page title is an h1 tag and you immediately follow that with an h4 tag, the hierarchy is broken. It makes the heading structure harder for the search engine to crawl and categorize.
Advantages of Using Heading Tags
- Structure your heading tags for search
- Prepare and segregate content for end users
- Improve site accessibility for people with disabilities
Header tags and SEO:
Search engines succeed when they provide more recent, relevant content than their competitors. To establish relevancy, they compare the words in the header tags with the content in respective sections. Google, Bing and other search engines use a program called a spider to crawl your posts, pages and products. It sends your content back for their servers and algorithms to measure the content. One of the most important measurements is keyword consistency.
The h1 is the most important tag and should never be skipped
The comparison starts with the H1 Tag. This tag provides a basic description which all successive content is compared. Search spiders pay special attention to the words used in the h1 tag. Because of this, it should contain a basic description of the page content, In WordPress, your page title is automatically made into your h1 tag.
Search engines don’t just measure everything against the h1 tag. H2 through h6 tags are measured as well. Each successive SEO header tag should be supported with a paragraph or more of relevant content. There is no magic number of words, use what is required to support your content.
The primary use of heading tags is for SEO, not to gain the larger, more prominent fonts. However, well thought out styling, applied via CSS enhances and standardizes the presentation of a web page. It provides a cleaner look.
Head Tags to Enhance UX:
Heading tags give the user a clear idea of what the page content is about. The human eye scans content easily with head tags in place. By reading the different heading tags, users can scan a page and read only the section they are interested in.
You’ll improve readability, time on site and click through rates by properly implementing head tags. As a side benefit, search engines give a great deal of importance to user-experience on a site, meaning the presence of heading tags becomes an important component of SEO.
Header Tags and Accessibility:
Poorly structured content makes it difficult for users of screen readers to navigate and harder to understand what they are being presented with. by taking the time to identify your titles when you write, you save end users with screen readers countless hours of frustration.
It’s each bloggers responsibility to properly structured headings on a page.
There are accessibility standards we should all strive to achieve. We begin to address many of these standards, such as providing navigable, readable, predictable & compatible content, through the proper use of heading tags. These tags enhance content readability and make your web pages appear and operate in predictable ways. Heading Tags also maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. They provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
Things you should not be doing with heading tags
- Do not stuff your heading tags with keywords – Use what’s necessary to provide a short, sensible description.
- Do not use more than one h1 tag on a page – One h1 heading per page lets everyone know what one thing to expect in the content.
- Do not use heading tags as hidden text – Hidden text has long been decried by search engines and users. It never helps and always causes penalties for your site ranking.
- Do not repeat heading tags on different pages of your site. It’s confusing to search engines and users. Maintain unique heading tags sitewide.
- Do not use identical content for both your page’s h1 tag and meta title tag – Differentiating the two enhances SEO and enhances usability.
- Do not use heading tags for styling text – Use CSS to accomplish styling and use header tags to organize and structure content.