Is the H1 tag still important for a solid SEO experience? The short answer is “yes.” The long answer you will find in the rest of this piece.
This H1 tag is essentially your header. Sometimes it is even called the “Header Tag.” In effect, it is the title of your content. It’s the text that stands out the most, captures a reader’s attention, and prompts them to want to read what you’ve offered to them. It’s like the main headline of a newspaper. It’s big, it’s proud, and it’s bold.
The H1 tag is your thesis statement. Make it stand out and your page will stand out. Make it boring and your search rankings will go soaring to the bottom of the results. Here are some tips to help make that H1 tag deliver an outstanding performance.
1. Never have more than one H1 tag on a page.
To be fair, search engines don’t seem to penalize a site when more than one H1 tag is used. From a structure standpoint, however, having more than one H1 tag doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you picked up a newspaper and all you saw were three headlines and no content, how likely would you be to purchase that newspaper?
2. Have your H1 tag at the very top of your page.
Having a headline at the top of your content makes sense. Having a headline below three paragraphs of content doesn’t make sense at all. Titles are naturally designed to be at the top. Again – there doesn’t seem to be a penalty for putting the H1 tag at the top or the bottom, but it looks unnatural and causes confusion. There is no value in a confused visitor.
3. Consider making your image the H1 tag.
What’s better than a good title than an image that is serving as a title? This gives your alt tags a higher level of importance, so make sure to optimize them as well. That way your keywords can get a little extra exposure. Just be careful to not pack in tons of keywords so that your H1 tag becomes a jumbled mess.
4. A good H1 tag creates engagement.
There are numerous ranking factors that are evaluated when determining where a search engine is going to be ranked. Keywords are often focused upon in the H1 tag, but visitor engagement also plays a role. This means writing an effective headline that captures someone attention is absolutely necessary to maximize your SEO. If visitors are intrigued by your H1 tag, but the content isn’t reflective of the headline, then you could be penalized.
Let’s say that you’re writing about SEO tips. It makes sense to have a H1 tag that says “A Beginner’s Guide to SEO: 8 Tips to Use Today.” It doesn’t make sense to say something like this: “Why I Hate NFL Football.” Seems like common sense, but many try the black hat linkbait to gain traffic. There might be short-term gains, but often there will be long-term losses.
5. Take advantage of the asked/answered search results in Google.
Starting with the Hummingbird update, Google has worked to make search engine results even better for end users. Many search terms are actually specific questions that are asked. Google wants to give that person an answer to their question with an immediate result. Your H1 tag can take advantage of this by reflecting a common question that your content answers.
In the earlier versions of this update, basic questions were answered this way. Ask “What is the baseball team in Seattle?” and you’d get a box that said “Seattle Mariners” and give you a link to their website. This has evolved to answer many other specific questions. Make the H1 tag be the primary question that you think someone would use to find your content and you could find yourself placed at the top of the search results even if your overall rank is not #1 with this SEO tip.
6. Don’t overthink your H1 tag.
The first thing that comes to mind for your H1 tag is generally going to be your best option. Incorporate keywords when appropriate, but write for the reader first. What sounds interesting to you? Answer that and you’ll likely find what sounds interesting to readers of your content.
H1 tags for SEO purposes might be ranked by many in the lower tier of emphasis points, but they still have some importance Use these tips to improve your title/headline/header and you may just find higher rankings and lower bounce rates headed your way.