Using Heading Tags For SEO
Heading tags help target audience and search engines to read and understand your text.
They act as signposts for the visitors and make it easier for target audience to understand what a post or page is about.
By using heading tags this also define which parts of your content are important and show how they are interconnected.
Below are pointers to help you – how to think and use headers to improve your content for SEO.
Why use headings?
1. To show text structure
Headings are fundamental foundations that guide readers through an article or blog.
Because target audience tend to read them carefully they should indicate what a section or paragraph is about.
They may also help them to get back on track if they get diverted or lost.
It is good practice to make sure that your headings are relevant and informative to visitors.
Some websites like to tease their target audience in the headings by trying to entice them to read further.
Whilst this could work very well it could also go wrong easily. The main focus of headings should be on the content and the main purpose should be to make the text easier to read and understand.
2.Headings Improve Accessibility
The structure used in heading is very important for accessibility especially for those who cannot easily read from a screen.
Because headings are in HTML a screen reader can understand the article structure and read them out loud.
By reading or listening to the headings, a visually impaired person can decide whether or not to read an article or blog.
Screen readers also offer shortcuts to jump from one heading to the next so they are used for navigation as well.
Point To Note: What is good for accessibility is also good for SEO.
Using heading tags does not specifically impact your SEO and will not help your performance however there are indirect benefits.
They also create better quality and more easily readable text. Better text is better for users which is better for your SEO.
And finally heading tags also give you a better chance to use your focus keyword prominently to make it clear what the page is about.
It is absolutely important not to overdo it.
The text should not feel unnatural or weird and if it does that is because you are trying too hard or over-optimising. Try to avoid over stuffing keywords.
You should always put users first and this should help you to add structure and signpost your content to describe what each section is about.
If your headings convey to your users what your article is all about then this will help Google to understand too.
When you are editing an article in WordPress you will usually see different levels of headings in the text editor from Heading 1 to Heading 6. These are ordered by size and importance.
A Heading 2 is more important than a Heading 4.
These are converted into HTML heading tags behind the scenes from <H1>, <H2>, <H3> and so on.
Your theme will also use these HTML tags in its templates.
That is why when we talk about how to structure headings and content well we talk about H1 tags, H2 tags, H3 tags and so on. We are referring to the underlying HTML code.
Your H1 is not the same thing as your page title. Firstly you are limited to using one H1 heading on each page. The H1 heading tags should be the name or title of the page or post.
That is – How To Use Headings Tags For SEO. Your H1 is like the name of a book.
On a category page- your H1 would be the name of that category. On a product page – it would be the product name.
As you write your content you can use H2 and H3 headings to introduce different sections – like Understanding the rules section which you are currently reading which sits within the H1 section.
Think of H2 headings like the chapters of a book. Those individual sections might also use more specific headers – H3 tags, then H4 tags and more to introduce sub-sections.
It is rare for most content to get too deep enough to use H4 tags and beyond unless you are writing really long or really technical content.
Example of heading structure
Let us assume that we have a blog post about running shoes. We have chosen running shoes as our focus keyword and written an article about all of the reasons why we like running shoes.
Without headings there is a high risk that we might end up writing a really long rambling unfocused piece that would be difficult to understand.
We can now structure things logically using headings so it makes it easier for users to read and help us focus on our writing.
Here is what the structure of that post might look like:
H1: Running shoes are amazing
H2: Why we think running shoes are amazing
H3: They do not just come in black and white
H3: They are good for more than just running
H3: They are not as expensive as you think
H2: Where should you buy your running shoes?
H3: The top 10 best running shoes websites
H3: Our top 5 favourite local running clubs
Can you see how we have created a logical structure – using H2 tags to plan out sections and H3 tags to cover specific topics?
We also mention our focus keyword as well as some related terms a few times and to outline the structure of the page.
Further to this, we have also tried to promise the reader something in each section to encourage them to read through.
Feel free to use this heading structured for your medium-length article or blog.
If you want to go into much more detail there is nothing stopping you from using H4 tags to create even lower-level sections.
Most themes will use headings as part of their HTML code but some do not follow best practices.
Almost all themes will automatically use the name of your article or blog in a H1 tag. This means you do not need to repeat the post name inside your content.
Point To Note: Do not use heading tags incorrectly – like in an illogical order (e.g. a H4 tag then a H2 tag) or use tags messily in sidebars, headers and footers.
This can cause problems for accessibility as the order of your headings might not make any sense.
Target audiences, search engines and assistive technologies usually look at the whole page not just your content area. This could cause you great SEO downwards ranking.
You might be able to fix this by adjusting your HTML code in your custom theme.
If you are using an off the shelf theme – you may need to contact your developer.
Whichever way – you should check that your headings make sense on each type of template.
By using heading tags correctly you will be helpful to your target audience.
In addition increasing the chances of users actually reading your article, improving accessibility and even contributing to SEO.
So make sure you use them correctly. If you want to be sure – go and check your blog’s outline now. Does the structure look like the one we explained above?
Now that you have read and understood all the above you should be able to determine whether your theme is doing a good job.
If you want to check your WordPress heading tags website, you can test it via the Heading Checker.
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How To Use Heading Tags For SEO