Heading Tags Are a Strong Signal, Says Google’s John Mueller

Heading Tags

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Heading tag is a factor that helps improve user experience on your website and also contributes positively to SEO. Even if you have excellent content on your website provided by experienced content writing services, without proper usage of heading tags, your content might not work well. According to Google’s John Mueller, heading tags send a strong signal about the content.

There’s a lot of work – from creating content that’s unique, relevant and useful to ensuring all components are strategically and aesthetically placed – that goes into designing a web page. But beyond these factors, the biggest impact made on a web page is what goes on behind the scenes i.e. the HTML code. In the code, one of the first areas web developers should focus on is the heading tag or header tag, which are on-page SEO codes that make a piece of text stand out. They’re usually titles on a page, similar to headings in print magazines and newspapers. Heading tags which are typically seen in bold, colored, italicized, underlined, or formatted in other such ways help readers quickly find sections on a page they want to read. These tags consist of H1, H2, H3 and so on, where H1 is the largest text on a page and is normally used for the main title.

Another major advantage of heading tags is that they tell search engines what a website is about, because search engines accord more importance to them before scanning the rest of the text on a web page. This particular point was validated by Mueller too. A user asked Mueller in a webmaster Central Hangout, “A page without an H1 title will it still rank for keywords which is in the H2 title?”

To this, Mueller responded that using a particular heading element instead of another (for instance, using H2 rather than H1) can still rank for keywords and it won’t really affect search engine rankings. He also added how heading tags can play an important role to helping a site rank and he calls them as ranking factors.

He said, “So headings on a page help us to better understand the content on the page. Headings on the page are not the only ranking factor that we have. We look at the content on its own as well. But sometimes having a clear heading on a page gives us a little bit more information on what that section is about.”

Mueller’s statement implies that as a ranking factor, heading tags aren’t as vital as they used to be. They’re indeed important, but they’re just one of several ranking factors such as content quality. He also pointed out that the order of heading tags on a page has no relevance as it is used to understand the context of content – that is, using H1 first followed by H2, H3 and so on makes no difference. Similarly, labeling sections under the same heading tag also has no bearing, though it will affect the overall look of a page. What really matters is using heading tags – in whatever order you want – to tell Google to rank your page better, and get your content read by people looking for it.

Another point Mueller shares is how heading tags can be important for image SEO. He says, “So in particular when it comes to images, that’s something where headings and the context of that image helps us a lot to understand where we should be showing that image in search. We don’t automatically know what we should be showing it for. And that combination of the image plus the landing page is something that depends quite a bit on the text of the page.”

So, use heading tags if you want to but don’t be overconcerned about how you arrange them, as discussed above. Rather, use them as a means to improve a page’s position and let them explain what your page is about, and incorporate the right keywords as Google focuses on what you include in heading tags. It helps Google understand the content and rank it better.

If you are still concerned about the proper use of heading tags, seek the services of an experienced search engine optimization company in New York that can ensure all aspects of your website are optimized, including the content and other ranking factors.