5 Easy Ways to Properly Optimize Header Tags

5 Easy Ways to Properly Optimize Header Tags


Simple tips for fully optimized header tags

Header tag content gets more emphasis & carries more weight than other plain text, so proper usage & optimization are key to leveraging your header tags for better rankings. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using header tags in your websites content.

We’ll use this sample piece of content to display examples of our tips in action.

1. Use Header Tags For Emphasis

As search engines crawl your page’s content they recognize & place emphasis on the content with-in header tags. Since content with-in a header tag receives more weight than other plain text on the page, you really want to make sure you are using them, and that your targeted keywords are supported there.

If  you’re using downloaded templates for a CMS like WordPress you’ll want to review the template to make sure it doesn’t have headers wrapped around something useless like an H1 around the site wide logo or H2’s around sidebar headings for instance.

  • Break up large segments of content into smaller groups, separated by headers
  • Use keywords in headers that are relevant to the content in the subsequent paragraphs

2. Use Appropriate Hierarchy

Additionally, search engines give the heaviest weight to the highest tag (H1 over H2) and lesser weight to subsequent tags (H3 less than an H2, H4 less than an H3 and so on). It’s important to keep this in mind when setting up or reviewing your site templates. Make sure you’re template doesn’t have an H1 wrapped around something useless like a site wide logo for instance.

  • Use appropriate hierarchy / keep headers in proper order
    • Absolute hierarchy: H1 then H2, then H3, then H4 and so on
    • Relative hierarchy: H1 then H2, then H3, H3, H3, then H2, then H3, H3, H3
  • Place H1 header high in the page content (generally before the post or body content begins)
  • Review site templates for proper header tag order.

3. Limit Usage For Greatest Impact

Header tags should be used sparingly to bring emphasis only to the most relevant point of the pages content. SanctuaryOne recommends only utilizing the H1 header tag once per page. Other key points of content can be highlighted using H2 tags – but again this should be used sparingly to keep the emphasis effectively focused. Additional supportive points can be called out using H3, H4, H5 or even H6 headers as needed.

  • Limit to 1 H1 headers per page
  • Limit to 1 or 2 H2 headers per page
  • Use H3, H4, H5, H6 sparingly for less important points
  • Review your template, make sure its not putting emphasis on irrelevant content (common in sidebar headers)

4. H1 & Page Title Should Share Relevance

The context of the H1 header tag should be directly tied to the content of the page title. Both the H1 header tag and the page title should highlight the general point of the page’s content.

  • Title and H1 should share a central relevant point
  • Title and H1 should both be relevant to the page content
  • Title and H1 should both contain your targeted keywords

5. Apply CSS Styles

Don’t be afraid to change up the look of your header tags with a little CSS magic. However, you will want to avoid using styles that try to trick search engines – avoid hiding header tag content using tricky CSS.

  • Default heading tags are ungainly and can really change the look & feel of a website
  • Apply appropriate CSS styles to header tags to get control of how they are displayed
  • Avoid styling any content to be invisible to users (display:none, z-index:-1000, font-size: 1 etc)

Controlling the frequency, placement and content of your header tags allows you to influence what search engines place the most emphasis & weight on. Take control and make the most of your content with a little header tag optimization!

Header Tag Optimization Resources

Check out some additional resources related to header tag optimization.

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