Are Header Tags Effective SEO Tools?

Your on-page SEO program should focus on how to present important information to search engines whilst making your page user friendly. Header tags, or more correctly, header elements, can be an effective way of achieving both aims.

There is no solid proof that the use of header elements do increase your rankings in the search results, however, sites that do use these elements correctly do seem to rank for the targeted keywords. If used correctly, these elements tell the search engines which keywords or keyword phrases are most important.

The primary header element is the H1 tag. This is usually the largest and cleanest of fonts. By clean, I mean easy for the visitor to read in both font style and colour. The H1 tag should be used to highlight the page’s primary keyword and is often one of the first elements published on any page. It is accepted that each page should only have the one H1 tag.

From that point on, the header elements should be used in a cascading style. The H2 tag is used to highlight secondary keywords or keyword phrases. The H3 tag is then used to highlight alternatives, or sub sections to the H2 keyword. You can continue to use tags from H4 – H6 in the same fashion. Your page structure would look something like the following if we use fruit as an example:

You can see the cascading use of these elements in that example. You can use as many H2-H6 tags as you feel necessary on a page. However, it is considered poor programming to skip any element, that is, to go from H2 to H4. That doesn’t mean it is wrong in the search engines nor does it mean it will look wrong to the visitor.

Used correctly, these elements or tags are very effective SEO tools. They tell the search engines exactly which keywords are important and the level of importance for each keyword or keyword phrase. When it comes to blogs, however, it seems these guides are almost thrown out the window – but that is a post for another day.

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