What is the Heading tag? Optimizing tags H1, H2, H3

 SEO trends can come and go, but for years it has been said that something as simple as the Heading tag can improve a website's SEO. Many people think that the Heading tag is no longer so important, they confirm it and they don't even ask, "How to use the Heading tag to bring SEO efficiency? “.

Yes! In this article I will answer that question for you and cover important questions like “what is a header tag?” or “what is an H1 tag?” – “Why is the H1 tag important for SEO?” , … (H1 is Heading)

Somehow I can confirm that Heading tags can indirectly affect your rankings by making your content easier and more enjoyable for visitors to read. And by providing keyword-rich context about your content to search engines, heading tag pairs are becoming more important than ever with modern SEO .

If you are following white hat SEO methods, I think you will find it hard to ignore the best practices for H1 tag optimization, right? Ok let's get started with SerpSeoAZ!

What is a heading tag or what is an H1 tag?

Before we learn what is a Heading tag or what is an H1 tag , we need to look at the concept of Header tag first.

The Header tag is used to separate the Heading (H1) and Sub-Heading (h2, h3, .., h6) tags on a web page from the rest of the content. In which H1 tag is the most important and H6 tag is the least important tag.

In HTML coding, the heading tags from h1 to h6 form a top-down hierarchy. This means that if you omit any tag numbers, the title structure will break, which is not ideal for on-page SEO.

  • H1  – The title of a post. They are usually keyword-focused, focused on the “big idea” of a page or post, and created to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Then the H2 and H3 tags explain to search engines the importance of each piece of content in order. You can shorten like H4 tags, H5 tags, H6 tags depending on the structure of your article. 

So what is the Heading tag or what is the H1 tag?

The H1 tag is the first HTML title tag displayed on a page. It is used for the title of a page or post. When viewed in HTML code, the H1 value is enclosed within <h1> </h1> tags . The H1 tag is different from the Title tag, H1 is the title displayed on the page and the Title tag appears on search engines , these two tags can be the same or different depending on you.

What is an H1 tag?

Think of the H1 like you would a book title. Usually, there is only one title for a book, so there should be only one title for your page or post. 

Also, the H1 tag should always be at the top of the page before the rest of the content, like the title of the book on the outer cover before you dive into the text inside.

H1 tag & title tag

As I mentioned in the section “ What is a heading tag? “, you should not confuse H1 tag ( <h1> </h1>) and Title tag (<title> </title>) , they are completely different. Let's go over the differences between these two pairs of cards:

  • The Title tag is displayed in the SERPS (search engine results pages). It is used as the main title of the snippet in the search results.
  • The Title tag is not visually displayed on a page, but it is part of the <header> </header> page title and it is also displayed in the browser header.
  • The <H1> tag is displayed to the user when browsing a page.
  • The title tag is a strong signal to search engine crawlers about the page content.
H1 tag & title tag

Of course, the Title tag is much more important than the Heading (H1) tag . How about check out my post “ What is a meta title tag? How to create a great title tag for SEO ”

Why are H1 tags important for SEO?

Not only the H1 tag , the remaining tags from H2 > H6 are extremely important for SEO. When we talk about SEO, we are referring to users and Google, just satisfy both of you and you will be successful.

When crawling the content of a page, search engine crawlers read the HTML code and they try to determine which sentences are contained within the title tags (h1, h2, etc.) .

They take these as indications of the page content.

So what element on the heading tag helps Google understand what your page is saying?

Yes, that's the keyword! By placing the main keyword, related keywords in the Heading H1 tag and the sub-tags H2, h3, ... you will help search engines understand the content of your page.

You don't have to come up with keywords yourself – in fact, you can do   easy keyword research to help you out, or look into keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. Just make sure your title tag is both human and bot friendly.

That's the impact on Google! What about users?

The tag Heading and Sub-headings help users navigate.

Users can quickly view the content of the page by looking at the Heading H1 tag . The Sub-Heading tags (h2>h6) provide a big hint to the user about what to expect in each section.

You must have read newspapers, short articles are very easy to read and long articles I think you only read the first part and skip the second part. Press content does not seem to be separated by Sub-Heading tags and this makes them difficult to read.

If your website contains a content of more than 1000 words, without the Heading sub-tags, the page will be very difficult to read. It is clear that the Heading sub-tags will make it easier for users to read the content!

H1 Tag Best Practices for Highest SEO Performance

As I mentioned, the H1 tag is very important and it affects both Google and users. To optimize the H1 Heading tag for the highest SEO efficiency, you need to satisfy both.

The rules that SerpSeoAZ summarize below for the h1 tag will not disappoint you. The important thing that I want to say is that don't try to do them differently, you will hardly get the expected SEO effect.

Place h1 tags at the top of your page

Put your article title in a prominent position above the article content, which is what Google itself recommends us to have an accurate title. The H1 tag is often the most visually distinguishing piece of content on the page.

Put H1 on top of content

When it comes to content marketing, you have to get attention quickly, and the H1 title tag can help do that. Putting the H1 at the top of the page makes the user pay attention and know briefly what your content is talking about.

Should put H1 like title or have similar meanings, closely related to each other

If you notice when editing wordpress, this CMS platform defaults to the H1 tag that matches the Title .

This is perfectly fine. 

It's not an  SEO mistake , as a general rule keep the Title tag and the H1 tag the same or closely related.

The title is responsible for pulling Google users to your website and it shows up on the Serp. As for the H1 it is located inside and at the top of the content page, it confirms once again whether the content the user is looking for is correct for their query.

So H1 is an affirmation and in my opinion it is not necessary to be as colorful as H1, let's make Heading H1 very simple.

In wordpress, this CMS platform will automatically set the same Title and H1 , if you want them to be different then you need an SEO plugin to do that. With me Rank Math makes things simple!

Should put H1 same title or similar meaning

Use keywords in your titles

While Heading tags won't have as big of an impact on your SEO as a backlink from an authority site, Google still considers them to gather context for your page. Keywords should be included in both Title and Heading.

If you choose H1 other than Title then you can use your main keyword in Title and a related keyword in H1. The use of keywords in the Heading tag will also contribute to making it more relevant to the user's search query. If the H1 tag doesn't match the user's expectations, they may leave your site without even reading the content.

Of course, that doesn't mean you should go overboard and start creating keyword-stuffed titles . Based on the results   of your keyword research , you can choose which keywords to use.

As with all other aspects of technical SEO, keyword stuffing is never a good idea. Same goes for Header tags, as including unnecessary keywords can lead to a Google penalty and lower ranking in the SERP.

Avoid H1 Headings that are too long

Too long Heading tag will hurt the reader's eyes but not too much effect, they need to look directly at the H1 tag and see if the topic is exactly what they are looking for. Use short but descriptive Headings. Use the same length guidelines as the title tag, i.e. less than 65 characters.

If you want to provide a long description for the user to better understand the topic of the page , you can use a short title followed by bold text to provide more information.

Make sure your H1 tag is visible and not hidden from users

As I mentioned before about the importance of the H1 tag , you need it to satisfy both Google and users. However, there are some people who intentionally or unintentionally hide the H1 and this is not good for SEO.

Exactly when you hide H1 you will not get the benefit it brings. More importantly the reader will feel lost at first and feel something is missing, I mean an affirmation that what they are about to read is true to their query.

Make your H1 tag look interesting

How does the reader pay attention to the Heading tag and stop for a few seconds to read a little?

For the most part, your H1 can decide whether or not a visitor will bother scrolling down the page.

Do your best to write a great H1 tag that answers the user's search intent and gets them excited to read your article.

Add a number, a character like quotes or square brackets to highlight the main keyword, the target keyword so that users pay attention to it and understand that the keyword matches the query they are searching for.

Combined with some emotional words, a call to action is also a good way to grab the attention of the reader.

Use Headings and Sub-Headings in a Hierarchical Way

As you know, H2 tags will complement H1, H3 tags will complement H2 , ... and that shows a clear hierarchy. You must take advantage of this and arrange the Header tags in the content in the best way.

It is important for SEO to have your tags in a hierarchical manner, otherwise you may confuse both search engines and users .

In other words, your <h1> should be at the top of the HTML Code and the rest (h2, h3, etc) in that order.

In other words, arrange them hierarchically according to a book's table of contents.

  • Your H1 introduces the topic your page is about, like the title tells the reader all the content of a book.
  • H2s are similar to book chapters, describing the main topics that you will cover in sections of the article.
  • Subsequent headings, H3 through H6, serve as additional subheadings within each section, much like a book chapter can be divided into several subtopics.

Only one H1 should be used per page

As I mentioned about the hierarchy of header tags , the H1 tag seems to be the encapsulation and wrap-up of the H2, H3, … H6 heading tag pairs Google scans your content and it will rely on H1 to understand the context of the article.

If there are two H1s things will be more complicated, H1s are very large and they look like headlines to the reader. Use lots of H1s on your page and it starts to seem a bit out of control.

The W3C recommends using “titles with an appropriate rating for the section nesting level”. It means hierarchical according to a table of contents like that of a book.

John Mueller says that multiple H1 tags are fine: Regardless of whether you use HTML5 or not, it's fine to have multiple H1 elements on a page.

Why does Google still recommend that you can use multiple H1s without affecting SEO?

Because they have developed mechanisms to solve the common problem of many H1s on a site.

But if there are many H1s but the target keywords are completely unrelated to each other, an unforeseen harm will occur. Using one H1 will make Google more focused to determine the topic of your page , too many H1s will confuse it.

The faster Google understands content, the faster it ranks, and leaving it to Google to wonder, its slow understanding of the content means slower ranking of your page. There is nothing wrong with using one or more h1, the important thing is that you are doing SEO and you must do everything to make Google understand your content as quickly as possible.

Optimized for Featured Snippets

Title tags are very important when it comes to optimizing for featured snippets

First optimize your Header tag for long-tail voice search keywords, then answer the query directly below using the text in the <p> paragraph tag.

The second way is to use subsequent, smaller Sub-heading tags to outline the various list items. Google uses them to generate featured snippet results in bulleted and numbered lists.

What about h2, h3 and h4 tags?

Similarly H1 only you, the above method can fully apply for cards S ub-H2 to H6 heading.

In addition, the use of auxiliary Heading tags helps to split the text, bringing easy readability for users.

If you write seamlessly and don't distinguish the different sections, users will only read the first part of the content and the rest they will skip. This is perfectly suitable for an article, an inverted pyramid model, it is not suitable for blogs.

Placing H2, H3 , ... tags will also help users move faster to where they need to be when they just need to see the content.

In addition, note the following:

  • Do not use the Sub-heading tag when other tags such as bold or italic are more appropriate.
  • Do not abuse the use of H2, H3, ... tags. Use them when they are important for structure, navigational purposes, and to make page content easier to read.
  • You don't have to use all types of sub-heading on a page. You can have h1 and only h2, depending on the length and type of your content.
  • A balance between using sub-headings and other formatting elements is always the best approach.

Final Thoughts on the Heading Thẻ Tag

Through my article, you already know “ What is a heading tag? – What is an H1 tag? “, the importance and best practices to optimize for the highest SEO results.

Unlike other SEO factors, the h1 tag is something you can control and if optimized correctly can make a difference in your rankings.

If you feel confident with what you have read above, the next step is to perform your website H1 Test and identify the h1s that need to be optimized.

Let me know what you think about the H1 tag in the comments below!