How to use header tags: A simple SEO guide
Headings are an important part of any webpage or blog post. These multiple headings can be differentiated using hypertext markup language (HTML) tags.
With an HTML title tag, you can highlight a webpage’s title, which gets displayed on SERPs. This will not be displayed within the webpage’s content body. These are referred to as meta titles.
When it comes to an HTML tag or HTML header tag, it is just a code that helps the web browser to understand how the content should be displayed.
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Let us find out more about header tags.
The header tags, less commonly known as heading tags, act as a separator between headings and subheadings on a webpage. They are ranked in the order of importance, starting from H1 to H6. Here, H1 is usually the title. Header tags are used to enhance the readability of a content. It also serves as a SEO best practice for ranking your page higher in the SERPs.
Here is a quick overview of the different header tags and what they are used for:
- H1: This is the title. H1 tags are usually curated focusing on keywords, and also these revolve around the main idea of the content, intended at grabbing the user’s attention.
- H2: These are sub-headings. Sub-headings serve the purpose of separating the main points in a paragraph and other sections. Here, you may use the semantic keywords that are relevant to the idea that you are trying to convey through the H1 tag. Focus on helping the readers to easily find the sections they want to read.
- H3: These are subsections. The main aim is to further elaborate the points that were introduced in the H2 tag. You can also use H3 tags for formatting bullet points or lists.
- H4: Like H3 and H2 tags that were emphasizing and focusing the points implied by the tags preceding these, the H4 tag serves the purpose of clarifying the points in the H3 tag. These are subsections just like the H3 tag and can be used for formatting lists or bullet points.
The H in H1 and H2 and so on stands for heading element. We can refer to these as header tags.
How to optimize these header tags to get the best out of them?
Headers provide structure
One of the intents of using header tags is to provide a proper structure and context for your articles. With each header, the reader would gain a clear understanding of the information that a specific paragraph intends to convey.
As discussed, the H1 tag intends to discuss what your page or post is about – the same way a title informs a reader what a book is about.
With H2, you are indicating the chapters of the book – which means the main topics that would be covered in different sections of the post.
The remaining header tags act as additional sub-headings within a section. Imagine a chapter of a book that might be split into multiple sub-topics.
Your reader’s attention span is limited. Many a time, people prefer to skim or scan through an article. If it is scannable, they know it is readable. Only an article that is readable will be ranked higher in the search engines.
Popular publications, including Forbes, refer to scanning factor as the most overlooked but important factor of content marketing. Approximately 15% of internet users might be interested in reading every word of an article. The majority would like to scan through the article as they look through some information.
A scannable content is about 50% more likely to perform better than articles that are not because most people prefer to scan through the content.
When a user finds that an article is scannable, they would prefer to spend some time on it and this would ensure reduced bounce-backs. If they like what they read, chances are they would put in a word about it among their friends or family.
Social signals are not considered to be a direct ranking factor. But if an article gets shared more, it has greater chances of earning backlinks naturally – which helps in improving its ranking.
Optimizing for featured snippets
Header tags are known to have a great impact on SEO when used within featured snippets.
- You can either optimize your header tag for a long-tail voice search keyword. Then, you can answer the query directly below it using text withinparagraph tags.
- You can use subsequent smaller headings for outlining different items in a list. These headers are used by Google for creating its own bulleted and numbered lists-featuring snippet results.
Google keeps updating its SEO best practices. It might be challenging to stay updated each time a change pops up. This is what we are here for.
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