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Header Tags for SEO

You just had an awesome custom built website built for your business, but did the web designer put forth search engine optimization best practices when

You just had an awesome custom built website built for your business, but did the web designer put forth search engine optimization best practices when he built your site? Depending on how experienced your website “guru” is, they may not have properly optimized your site with proper heading tags. The H1-H6 HTML tags are essential for competing and ranking in search engines, so if your site hasn’t implemented them, you’ll want to do so.

In this article we will cover what H1-H6 tags are, why they are important, and how to properly use them to rank ahead of your competition.

What are Header Tags

Header Tags are used by search engines to help determine what a page is about. Search engines use these tags to place extra emphasis on titles, headings and sub-headings so that they can rank the pages appropriately. Without this extra bit of help, the robots crawl all of the text the same not knowing what’s most important.

H1 Tags

Depending on the content management system you are using or whether you are building a website from scratch, your site’s H1 tag may or may not be the same as each one of your page’s titles. Depending on how your site is established, if you have a CMS, if you are using an SEO plugin, and considering many other additional options, your H1 may or may not be easy to determine, especially on your home page.

If you have a logo instead of a text header or you have an image slider or picture carousel with words in it, you may or may not have H1 header tags implemented on your home page. Make sure that you take extra care to check your pages if you have a complex layout. This is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects on on-page optimization.

H2 Tags

While H1 tags certainly carry the most weight, H2 tags offer you a chance to use different variations of keyword phrases on the page in a way that you can tell search engines “these phrases and the keywords in them are important to me.”

Most times H2s also are customized within your site to automatically style differently, so if you are writing content, using H2s as headings between subjects, instead of just bolding, is a better way to stylistically bold text and tell search engines what the page is about. Between H1 tags, H2 tags, and using image alt text within your pictures, if you do these well, then you are off to a good start with your on-page optimization.

H3-H6 Tags

For really long content, with lots of sub-headings, H3-H6 tags should be used to break down the content and to help search engines keep everything in line. While they see it a lot differently, here is an example of how to properly use header tags.

  • H1 – My Website About SEO
    • H2 – Technical SEO
      • H3 – Technical SEO Discovery
        • H4 – Checking Sitemaps
        • H4 – Checking Robots.txt
      • H3 – Technical SEO Implementation
        • H4 – Uploading Sitemap to Webmaster Tools
      • H2 – On-Page SEO
        • H3 – On-Page SEO Discovery
          • H4 – Checking Header Tags
          • H4 – Checking Images
          • H4 – Checking Keyword Density
        • H3 – On-Page SEO Implementation
          • H4 – Optimize Header Tags
          • H4 – Optimize Meta Descriptions
          • H4 – Improve Internal Linking

And the process would continue until you finish the article or the content on the page.

Headers As An Outline

If you think of Headers as an outline for the content you are putting together, and you make sure to optimize it with keywords, you will be in good shape as you prepare your site for your business. Make sure you do proper keyword research, apply your findings to your headers in a logical (non-spammy way) and search engines will appreciate the effort and repay you for making your page’s intentions clearer.

About the author

Paul Gladstone
Paul has 20+ years of digital marketing, business, and project management experience. He leads B2B Organic Marketing at Wadi, supports Glasgow Rangers, and enjoys off-road ultra running.

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