In the “olden days”, the headline was the most important part of any newspaper article. Frontpage news headlines would help sell the entire newspaper and each following headline would convince the reader to keep on reading. Today, in our digital world of information overload, headings and headlines matter even more.
But, headings don’t just make the content of a webpage better organized, appealing, and easier to read. They are also critical to good technical SEO and your rankings.
Let’s talk about what header tags are, their importance, and how to leverage their power to boost your SEO and user experience.
What are Header Tags?
HTML header tags are used to differentiate the headings (H1) and sub-headings (H2-H6) of a webpage from the rest of the content. These tags are also known to webmasters as heading tags. They rank in order of importance, from H1 to H6, with H1s usually being the title. They tell a browser what styling it should use to display a piece of text on a webpage and how to structure content, thus improving the readability and SEO of a webpage.
You can look at your page’s HTML header tags as a way of creating an outline or “sketch” of your article, using body content to fill in details and provide examples.
Types of Header Tags
Just like headings in print content, header tags are used to title, introduce and segment the content below them. HTML header tags follow a top-down hierarchy, from <h1> to <h6>.
H1 tags are used to denote the most important text, such as the main theme or title of the content. It’s what gives readers the idea of the entire content and captures their attention. They’re also the most important in the eyes of search engines, as they tell the algorithm what the content is about.
H2 & H3 Tags
H2 and H3 tags are commonly used as subheadings, to section the content. They usually contain semantic keywords related to the “big idea” in your H1, while also helping your reader easily find the sections they are interested in.
H4, H5 & H6 Tags
Finally, H4, H5, and H6 tags may be used to provide further structure and information within those subsections and further clarify the points made in the H3.
Why are HTML Header Tags Important?
If you’re trying to grow traffic organically, you’re probably looking to use SEO to your advantage and awe your audience. Adding sections and subsections, with appropriate header tags, divides content into scannable blocks that are much easier to consume – for both humans and bots. Overall, using headers that accurately represent your content will help both users and search engines read through the entirety of your content without bouncing off of the page. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Let’s dive into it in more detail.
Readability, User Experience, and Satisfaction
Header tags are important because they make your page more user-friendly by making your content more readable and accessible. Readers like to scan content to get an idea of what the text is about and decide which sections of the text they’re going to read. Headings help them do that. To make users not only land but also stay on your page, it’s very important to optimize your header tags in a way that suits the query of the user.
A better text is better for users, which is better for your SEO. On that note…
The Overlooked Importance of Header Tags in SEO
Heading tags are not only an important tool for comprehension but technical SEO efforts, as well. Don’t let the term “technical” scare you off. It simply refers to practices that focus on the website’s infrastructure, such as the use of different headings. Header tags are an easy way for you to improve any homepage’s technical SEO. How? They help Google understand your content and thus, rank you higher in SERPs.
Because headings are in HTML, a screen reader can understand the article structure and read them out loud, which aids visually impaired people. Also, screen readers offer shortcuts to jump from one heading to the next, so they are used for navigation as well. What’s good for accessibility is also good for SEO and UX!
Heading Tags Best Practices: How to Use Header Tags to Boost Your SEO and UX
Don’t make the mistake of using header tags as nothing more than stylistic elements. After all, they are structural in nature. So, what is the best way to use heading tags to maximize your efforts?
Structure your header tags smartly as it can make a big difference in grabbing the readers’ attention and ensure every header tag gives the reader a good idea of the information that follows. Always include relevant keywords in your header tags which should correctly match keyword intent, nd avoid keywor stuffing. Optimize your content and header tags for featured snippets to get additional traffic and exposure in search results.
Create and maintain a consistent experience for users, and ensure you continuously intrigue and engage them with strong, descriptive, and compelling heading tags that answer the users’ search intents and get them excited about reading your entire article.
Use Header Tags to Your Advantage
Write your headers well, and you’ll not only make your content more scannable, but you’ll intrigue visitors to keep on reading and even come back for more. Plus, optimized header tags can help you win featured snippets, make it easier for search engines to understand your page, love it and rank it higher.
Make sure your website is attracting the organic traffic you deserve by getting the most out of your header tags. Get strategic with your header tags. Your website deserves it!