What is a heading tag? Heading tags are lines of text on a webpage that are wrapped by HTML to create a heading element on a webpage. These tags range from H1 to H6. The correct HTML coding for each looks like this:
<h1>This is heading 1</h1>
<h2>This is heading 2</h2>
<h3>This is heading 3</h3>
<h4>This is heading 4</h4>
<h5>This is heading 5</h5>
<h6>This is heading 6</h6>
You can apply styles to each of the heading tags to give them a different appearance compared to the rest of the body text on the page to draw the visitors’ eyes. Check out the image to the right to see what styled headings look like.
Traditionally, headings and/or headline areas were used by newspapers and other publications to catch the readers attention and entice them to buy. Nowadays, since most web content is free, the heading tags serve as a way to get the search-engines’ attention so they can provide their searchers with the most relevant results.
H1 & H2 heading tags are among the more heavily weighed elements of on-page content by the search engines along with keywords, page titles, body text, and links. If leveraged properly, H1 & H2 headings can be very effective in helping to shape search engines’ perception of your pages’ content.
The heading tags (H1, H2, H3 and so on) represent the beginning of a new section or area of a pages content and alert search engine spiders of the relevancy of the content that follows the heading tag.
Here are some optimization tips to keep in mind when creating/editing your heading tags:
- IMPORTANT: More is not better, don’t overuse! Limit each page to one H1 & 1-2 H2s, then use H3s.
- Limit length of heading tags; avoid words that aren’t relevant to the page’s content.
- Include exact target phrases within heading tags, but use variations to avoid obvious repetition and build keyword density.
- Include target phrases toward the front of heading tags for best performance.
- Include support content after heading tags; each heading should precede a body of relevant content.
- Place heading tags in order. H1 should appear first in code, the H2, H3 and so on.
Poor to Well Optimized H1 Heading Examples
Assuming the target phrase is “Free SEO Suggestions”, here are a few examples of H1 headings with varying qualities of optimization.
Poor H1 Heading:
” … ” (none)
“Hey, welcome to our site. Read these awesome suggestions to find out more about doing good stuff for your site.”
Better H1 Heading:
“Free SEO Suggestions”
Best H1 Heading:
“The top 25 free SEO suggestions from BoostSuite.com”