When it comes to publishing content on your website, the very least it needs to be is readable to both your users, and to Google. This is where header tags come in, bringing structure and flow to an otherwise overwhelming amount of text. But what are header tags, and how can you use them? Here are the basics of header tag mastery.
What is a header tag?
Officially termed ‘heading elements’ but commonly referred to as header tags, (or just H tags if you’re down with the SEO lingo), headers help structure your content with a clear hierarchy.
In your website’s content management system (CMS), their raw form is in HTML code, but many CMS’s allow you to edit and structure your content in a way that’s easily visible, without needing a crash course in coding.
How many header tags are there?
There are 6 header tags:
In HTML form, they look like this: <H1> Heading text goes here</H1>
What are header tags for?
No one likes to read a wall of text, so you need headings to break it up, and show you what content is most important to read first. Header tags allow the reader (and Google) to be naturally led through your content, whether it be on your web pages, within product descriptions, or on your blog.
The longer your content is, the more important it is to include header tags.
Why are header tags important for SEO?
Whilst header tags themselves aren’t a ranking factor, but your content is, and header tags allow Google to easily see what it’s about, giving context to both long and short tail keywords you may have carefully included. Google uses bots to crawl your site and determine where it will rank, and those bots will easily recognise header tags.
How many header tags can you have on a page?
With the exception of H1s, you can have as many H tags on your page as you like; just remember that they need a good reason for being there.
Header tags for SEO
Ultimately, header tags come down to the judgement of the person publishing the content, as each piece will have its own flow. However, there are some general rules of thumb that you can go by when publishing content with header tags included:
How to use a H1 tag
A H1, or Heading 1, tag is the most important on a web page - there’s a reason you can only use one. This sums up the subject of a page, usually the name of the page or post, and is displayed much larger than the rest of the text. This should naturally be inclusive of the main keyword. Many CMS platforms make the title of the page or post an H1 tag automatically.
How to use a H2 tag
A H2 tag is the way to distinguish the first main subheadings from the rest of the content. It still displays as larger than the rest of the text, but not as big as a H1.
‘What is a header tag’ in this article is a H2, as are a lot of the other subheadings up until these ‘how to use’ headings.
How to use a H3 tag
H3s are the subheading of a subheading, sitting below an H2 to signify that the content below it is still relevant to the H2, but deserves its own section. It’s a more similar size to the rest of the text than H1s and H2s.
These ‘how to use’ headings are H3!
How to use a H4 tag
A H4 tag is used below a H3, to split and order text that comes under a subheading’s subheading.
How to use a H5 tag
A H5 tag is a priority to read over an H6 tag, but not before an H4.
How to use a H6 tag
The last of the headings before it comes down to the body text - H6 tags take priority over body text, but not above an H5.
Should I include keywords in my header tags?
It’s good SEO hygiene to naturally include keywords in your header tags, as these make it easy for Google to understand what your page is about, and appropriately rank it as relevant. However, this is no time for shoehorning keywords in where they don’t belong - this is spammy behaviour that Google’s not a fan of.
I need help with my content
From keywords to header tags, getting your content right can feel like a big ask, especially when you’re trying to run your business at the same time. Engaging SEO experts, like us here at 427, can keep your content on track for search engine success - and meet and exceed the needs of your users as a priority too.
Our content writers know their H1s from their H2s, and are more than happy to work on your content, from writing whole pages and blog articles, to on-page optimisation of the content you currently have. If you need help with any part of your website or digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us today.